FM By Sean Martin PUBLISHED: 13:05, Sat, Jun 10, 2017 Al-Hashash The mean functional difference between Al-Hammar and the natural area (averaged functional differences for all five indicator functions, regardless of sign) was 40%, whereas the mean functional difference for Suq Al-Shuyukh was only 23% (figure 7), indicating that Suq Al-Shuyukh was closest to Al-Hawizeh in overall ecosystem function. Surprisingly, the Central marsh still retained the highest soil organic matter after more than 10 years of drainage and extensive fires. The total international funding to date for marsh restoration is slightly in excess of $30 million, a minuscule amount compared with the billions being spent in Iraq for other purposes. . Urban Farhan (2005) also estimates that to restore 10,000 km2 of marshes will require from 20 billion to 30 billion m3 of water, nearly 50% of Iraq's available water after the completion of the water projects and dams in Turkey and Syria (Partow 2001). account of a worldwide Flood (Genesis 6-8), they could not say that the Tigris/Euphrates Rivers and the 2003, Richardson 2005). These rivers, however, (b) The totally drained Central marsh near Chibayish (N 30°58.102, E 47°09.033) in June 2003. The intensity of the burns in some areas, with high surface organic matter covering sulfidic pyrite soils beneath, resulted in soils being greatly altered chemically and then exposed to oxygen for decades of draining, resulting in the formation of sulfuric acid (Fitzpatrick 2004). . Legendre Al-Hawizeh (called Hawr Al-Azim in Iran) is the best remaining natural marsh in the region. Hussain Obviously, the two newer rivers were named after Porter Maltby Shavit It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide, This PDF is available to Subscribers Only. (Some secular sources, however, would also describe the Garden press release. For many generations, researchers have been looking for the Garden of Eden. The red elongated patches along riverbanks are date palms. Wetzel Many consider Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes(figure 1a)—often referred to as the “Garden of Eden”—to have been the cradle of Western civilization (Thesiger 1964, Nicholson and Clark 2002). Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization! When Marsh Arabs have specific preferences for the areas they want to resettle, these preferences should be among the criteria for selecting marsh areas to be restored; however, these areas must also meet the ecological conditions conducive for reestablishing wetland functions if both ecosystem restoration and cultural reestablishment are to be successful. Thanks to Ali DouAbul of the Iraq Foundation and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for providing salinity data on Abu Zarag. . For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription. However, recent surveys in Abu Zarag have found low molecular weights of PAHs in Abu Zarag soils, probably as a result of the severe burnings in the region (DouAbul et al. The natural Al-Hawizeh marsh had the most species (53), nearly matching our total count of 56 for all the marshes surveyed (figure 6). Neither river could have possibly survived such Most of the drained marshes appear as grayish-brown patches, indicating dead marsh vegetation or low desert shrubs and dry ground. Now, dams, dikes, and canals prevent the overflow of water at the marsh edges, thus reducing the historical inundation pattern of the marshes. 2005). Monitoring is continuing under USAID and international funding to assess the recovery, and additional efforts are now being focused on measuring plant and fish production, changes in water quality, and specific populations of rare and endangered species. (For a detailed analysis of the field and laboratory chemistry methods and statistical analyses used in this article, see DAI 2004, Richardson et al. who brought familiar names to their new colonies (e.g., settlers Iraq must also use water more efficiently and cut waste if the country is to have enough water to meet its future needs. CJ How do we know that these rivers mentioned in Genesis matter, the original Garden could have been on the other side of the world! Current data for macroinvertebrates are presented for comparison among sites, but no reliable historical quantitative records exist for these organisms. H Most of the refugees had returned to Iraq by the end of 2004, but they found few viable marshes remaining. the rivers that were once flowing during pre-Flood times. A as “mythical” or “fabled,” as if it never really existed). Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq! Najah A. Hussain is an aquatic ecologist on the faculty of the College of Science, University of Basrah, Basrah, Iraq. N by Henry de Roos, AiG-Canada. As a Christianity-defending ministry, Creation Ministries International is often engaged in dispelling widely held myths that run contrary to the teachings of Scripture, as well as good research. P Although the uncontrolled reflooding is welcome news, it presents potential problems and challenges regarding the quality of water: The release of toxins from reflooded soils that are contaminated with chemicals, mines, and military ordnance, Flooding of local villages and farms now developed on the edges of formerly drained marshes, A false sense of security regarding the volume of water that will be available to restore the marshes in future years. NA From Eden one river flows into four rivers, including the Tigris and Euphrates, these rivers then go outward to become separate rivers, each forming its own head. H E Only 3% of the Central marsh and 14.5% of the Al-Hammar remained. of erosion and tremendous thicknesses of sediment laid down. However, the number of bird species (community/habitat function) and transparency depth (hydrologic function) were all much less (50% to 60%) in the current marshes than they were historically. 2005). Theobald AZ . Genesis also mentions that four rivers ran out of this garden. Carassius carassius, an introduced carp species from Iran, comprised 20% of the summer 2004 catch in Suq Al-Shuyukh but up to 46% of the catch in Al-Hawizeh. Our EFA analysis of the marshes was somewhat compromised in terms of the collection of the most appropriate key indicators for each function because of the difficulty of sampling in remote and dangerous areas of Iraq. Iraq to topple the regime of dictator Saddam Hussein, both secular and Christian Garden were located in the current Mesopotamian region of Iraq. All these problems have come to light in the past two years. KT . is often engaged in dispelling widely held myths that run contrary to the teachings After sinning, Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden … In Genesis Since March 2003, when US forces and 29 allies invaded Iraq to topple the regime of dictator Saddam Hussein, both secular and Christian media outlets have frequently declared that Iraq is the location of the biblical Garden of Eden. Banat 2005). . Populations of rare species such as the marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris; 40% to 60% of the world population) and the Basrah reed warbler (Acrocephalus griseldis; more than 90% of the world population), which had been thought close to extinction (Evans 2002), were recently seen in a winter bird survey (figure 2; Salmin et al. Could marsh health be assessed accurately after only two years of reflooding? They had virtually no chance of earning a traditional living by fishing and raising water buffalo. Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq .. 7. Many thanks go to Peter Reiss, who headed the DAI program in Iraq, and Ali Farhan, who administers the marsh program in Iraq. Whitton Another issue that is not clearly understood by many engineers and water managers is that reflooding does not equal wetland restoration. However, the high volume of good-quality water entering the marshes from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, a result of two record years of snowpack melt in Turkey and Iran, allowed 39% of the former marshes to be reflooded by September 2005. The marshes were also once famous for their biodiversity and cultural richness. © 2006 American Institute of Biological Sciences, Indigenous Systems of Management for Culturally and Ecologically Resilient Pacific Salmon (, Not All Nitrogen Is Created Equal: Differential Effects of Nitrate and Ammonium Enrichment in Coastal Wetlands, A Research Agenda for Urban Biodiversity in the Global Extinction Crisis, A Call to Action: Marshaling Science for Society. 1988, Saeed et al. The first three principal component axes were significant, according to the broken-stick eigenvalue test (Legendre and Legendre 1998), and together they accounted for 71% of the variance in the data. His research has focused on water quality and on fish population dynamics. Scott Genesis does not give much detail to where the Garden of Eden was. The reason for the early return of many species is probably directly related to the reintroduction of propagules, seeds, larvae, and fish stocks directly from the overflow river waters of the Tigris and Euphrates. P The highest extractable phosphorus (bicarbonate; Pbicarb) was found in the natural Al-Hawizeh. the Euphrates and Tigris, cut through Iraq. However, as a result of a systematic plan by Saddam Hussein's regime to ditch, dike, and drain the marshes of southern Iraq, less than 10% of the area remained as functioning marshland by the year 2000 (figure 1b; Partow 2001, Brasington 2002). Still, many serious questions about the potential for restoration remained: What are the problems that could result from uncontrolled reflooding of drained former marshes? "Marines in the Garden of Eden" describes the battle for An Nasiriyah, the action where Jessica Lynch was captured. BK DouAbul A survey of the fishermen of the villages (DAI 2004) also indicated that fishing is extremely poor because of the small size of the fish and because Silurus triostegus, a carnivorous catfish species (40 to 55 cm in length) not eaten by the local Shi'a population for religious reasons, can comprise up to 60% (by weight) of the catch. It was destroyed by the global Flood, and so its actual 2005). The PCA revealed that marsh alteration may have resulted in significant changes in soil chemistry and moisture, with the re-flooded but diked Al-Sanaf marsh having much higher salinities, higher sulfate (SO4) levels, and lower soil moisture than the natural marsh site. Uncontrolled release of water in many areas is resulting in the return of native plants and animals, including rare and endangered species of birds, mammals, and plants. For example, many areas of the marshes were severely burned after drainage. Keitt 2005). Annual rainfall only averages around 10 cm in southern Iraq, while evapotranspiration rates can reach nearly 200 cm (Buringh 1960). JC But today, despite the fertility of the land, agriculture does not flourish. The Iraqi scientists and graduate students at the University of Basrah contributed data for aquatic plants, fisheries, macroinvertebrates, and mollusks. Al-Hammar had the lowest species number (29), which was slightly more than half the total species identified. 4. H A Fahrig Analyses of surface water and soils for organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) showed no detectable concentrations of any of these xenobiotics (Richardson et al. The water from the Iranian project reportedly will be sold to Kuwait, which suffers severe freshwater supply problems. and beetles (Coleoptera). A listing of the five most common species of plants, birds, and fish found in Al-Hawizeh as compared with Suq Al-Shuyukh and Al-Hammar reveals that Al-Hammar and Suq Al-Shuyukh are most similar, while Al-Hammar differs from the other two marshes in dominant species composition (table 2). Ethiopia”; but the modern-day country of Ethiopia is over 1,000 A However, some of the used agricultural water may be adequate for use in the marshes, but that has not been studied in terms of elevated salinity and long-term nutrient and pesticide effects. The military raided settlements, killed at least tens of thousands of Marsh Arabs—the actual number may be much higher—burned settlements, killed livestock, and destroyed the core of the local economy. . J The exact location for Gihon and Pison is unknown. RESEARCHERS believe that they have found the Garden of Eden – and it could lie beneath a world heritage site in Iraq. Such a naming pattern . After the Flood, Genesis 10:10 records that Noah’s family and descendants moved from Surprisingly, a Jaccard similarity analysis of all plant species, including nondominants, indicated that Al-Hammar and Suq Al-Shuyukh were most similar to Al-Hawizeh (Jaccard index [CJ] = 0.45 and 0.42, respectively); the macrophytes at Suq Al-Shuyukh were the most dissimilar to those at the natural Al-Hawizeh (CJ = 0.23). Hobbs Al-Mousawi One indication of marsh recovery is that nearly half of the bird species were recorded as breeding in the marshes during the summer of 2004 and 2005.Another indication of bird habitat restoration is that a more complete survey of 28 marsh areas in the winter of 2005, conducted by the Canadian—Iraq Marshlands Initiative, recorded 74 bird species, including 10 rare and endangered species not seen in over 25 years (Salmin et al. The three main marsh areas are Al-Hawizeh, Central, and Al-Hammar, labeled 1, 2, and 3, respectively. No. 2005). After a map by Jan Luyken from a work by Samuel Bochart, 1599 – 1667, in Borchart’s ‘Geographia Sacra’ (Leiden, 1692). Young In addition, many of the former water flow connections between marsh patches are now blocked by dikes and canals. Approximately 70% of the water entering Iraq comes from river flow controlled by Turkey, Iran, and Syria (Partow 2001). A comparison of numbers of macrophyte, fish, and bird species recorded in one natural marsh (Al-Hawizeh), two reflooded marshes (Al-Hammar and Suq Al-Shuyukh), and current and historical records for all three marshes combined. “According to Jewish tradition, the Garden of Eden is associated with the Land of Israel, according to the big borders – from the river of Egypt to the … a cataclysmic event. Tracking wetland restoration: Do mitigation sites follow desired trajectories? MR (6 April 2006), Landscape connectivity: A graph-theoretic perspective, Wildlife in patchy environments: Metapopulations, mosaics, and management, Metapopulations and Wildlife Conservation, Return to the Marshes: Life with the Marsh Arabs of Iraq. and millions of years,” to the myth spread by some misinformed Christians The cause for this increase in salinity is unknown, but it probably relates to a rise in salinity in the Euphrates and to increased flux into the water column of ions concentrated in the soil after 10 years of drainage and evaporation. place? Second, the reflooded marshes are on the road to restoration but, as expected, have not reached full wetland functioning in less than two full growing seasons. The first assessment of the status of the marshes was done almost immediately after the fall of Baghdad in June 2003 by a team of US scientists, who found that massive but uncoordinated reflooding of the marshes was occurring (Richardson et al. Because the amount of water available for the marshes may be severely restricted in some years, water should be directed only into those former marshes with the most potential for maintenance of natural existing areas (e.g., Al-Hawizeh) or for restoration of functional wetland ecosystems (e.g., Suq Al-Shuyukh). Can the landscape connectivity of the marshes be reestablished to maintain species diversity? AZ Gavrieli SS Levins Bullen claim by ardent evolutionists that “all scientists believe in evolution Al-Saadi remain nameless), and believes in a recent Creation and a global Flood, got Toxic levels of sulfides and salts have been reported in a few areas of the reflooded marshes (Fitzpatrick 2004, Richardson et al. that Charles Darwin recanted evolution Thank you for signing up. Some biblical scholars believe the Garden of Eden was located in Sumer where the Euphrates and Tigris rivers merge. For example, in historic times the pulsed flow of water, sediments, and nutrients into the Iraqi marshes came via the spring melt. A biotic 2004–2005 survey from the Al-Hammar and Suq Al-Shuyukh marshes indicated that most macrophyte, macroinvertebrate, fish, and bird species were returning to the restored marshes, although densities were low compared with historical records (figure 6). Minefields exist throughout the marshes along the border of Iran, and a number of villages were flooded by the destruction of dikes and dams (C. J. R., personal observation). This marsh was among the earliest to be reflooded, in early 2003, and has excellent reed re-growth; thus, it is the major location where Marsh Arabs have returned to live on traditional “floating islands” with their water buffalo ( Bubalus arnee ). An ecosystem functional assessment (EFA) utilizing selected indicators of five wetland functions: (1) production (Phragmites australis aboveground production, in grams per square meter), (2) decomposition/redox status (milligrams of oxygen per liter), (3) hydrologic function (water transparency, or depth of clear water in centimeters), (4) biogeochemistry (salinity, measured as conductivity in millisiemens per centimeter), and community/habitat (bird species number). The word Mesopotamia means “between rivers,” referring to the location between the Tigris and the Euphrates. The rate of restoration is remarkable, considering that reflooding occurred only about two years ago. By Staff Writer Jul 18, 2016 05:32 AM EDT. Alwash 2005). RF In March 2004, fishermen reported to us that their livelihood from fishing at that time was very poor, but conditions improved slightly by the summer of 2005. The remainder are scattered in villages throughout the desert or are refugees in the larger cities. Lemly Al-Hammar had the highest concentrations of most constituents, which indicates that this reflooded site is more saline and chemically enriched than the other two sites, since it now receives tidal seawater from the Persian Gulf (Richardson et al. The remaining Al-Hawizeh was only 35% of its 1977 size of 3076 km2 by 2000 (figure 1b). J .eds. 24 march 2003 However, the number of people who have returned is probably under 10,000, and recent estimates indicate that fewer than 10% of the remaining Marsh Arabs may return because of the marshes' poor fishing and lack of clean drinking water, schools, and health clinics. JB It has extremely high salinities (see table 1) and ion concentrations, including toxic levels of selenium, due to a lack of proper outflow drainage and high evapotranspiration (Richardson et al. 2005). The highest Jaccard similarity was found between Al-Hawizeh and Suq Al-Shuyukh (CJ = 0.41). These marshes were once the largest wetlands in southwest Asia and covered more than 15,000 square kilometers (km2), an area nearly twice the size of the original Everglades. 3. W now, run on top of huge thicknesses of Flood-deposited layers of rock. Wiens Al-Mutair The EFA analysis revealed that Suq Al-Shuyukh has nearly recovered all its key functions when compared with the remaining natural Al-Hawizeh marsh (e.g., Phragmites plant production was 83% of that at Al-Hawizeh, and a crude index of decomposition/redox status as indicated by oxygen in the water column was 93% of the value at the natural marsh), whereas Al-Hammar has severely reduced water transparency (41% of Al-Hawizeh levels) and lower numbers of bird species (45% of the number at Al-Hawizeh; figure 7). Two globally vulnerable species, marbled teal ( Marmaronetta angustirostris , left) and Basrah reed warbler ( Acrocephalus griseldis , right), photographed in 2005 in the Iraq marshes by Iraqi nature photographer Al Salim. The exact location of the Eden of scripture is and will probably always remain an elusive mystery which is the subject of countless theories. . The loss of these ecologically critical wetlands was of added concern because they were once home to 300,000 to 500,000 indigenous Marsh Arabs (Young 1977, Coast 2002). EJ RW (c) False-color image of the remaining Mesopotamian marshlands, taken 2 September 2005, shows in black the areas newly reflooded since the war. M Of course, a better selection of indicators for some functions (e.g., decomposition rate studies that are now under way) may provide a better assessment of restoration success in the future. For example, the continued use of the ancient method of flooding vast agricultural fields from open ditches, coupled with extremely high evapotranspiration rates, results in massive losses of water to the atmosphere and increased soil salinity problems (Buringh 1960). Thus, our estimates of ecosystem health are less quantitative than a standard EFA. A more detailed survey of fish species composition and size, assessed in conjunction with local fish market data, indicates that bunni (Barbus sharpeyi)—the most important historic endemic fish species with the highest commercial value—is present in all the marshes, but in greatly reduced numbers and size (Richardson et al. This is one of the main reasons to date why village resettlement of the marshes has occurred in only a few locations, such as Suq Al-Shuyukh. L The natural Al-Hawizeh marsh (figure 3a) had the lowest concentration for all major ions, and the total phosphorus (P) in surface water was close to river water values (table 1). I stood with my interpreter, Salar, a local Iraqi journalist. Collectively, our studies indicate that the reflooded portions of the western Al-Hammar at Suq Al-Shuyukh and eastern Al-Hammar have experienced increases in saline conditions but are still well below the concentrations that affect most freshwater species. 2, The Euphrates Triangle: Security Implications of the Southeast Anatolia Project, An Environmental and Ecological Study of the Marshlands of Mesopotamia: Draft Consultative Bulletin, Wetland Ecosystems Research Group, University of Exeter, On the algal ecology of the lowland Iraqi marshes, An assessment of highway impacts on ecological function in palustrine forested wetlands in the upper coastal plain of North Carolina, The Mesopotamian Marshlands: Demise of an Ecosystem, Division of Early Warning and Assessment, United Nations Environment Programme. More than 75,000 Marsh Arabs fled to southern Iran and lived there in refugee camps for over 10 years until Saddam's regime fell (Nicholson and Clark 2002). The global The question that is always asked is whether the Marsh Arabs are returning to the marshes that have now been reflooded (figures 1c, 3e, 3f). Al-Timari 2005). KM The Tower of Babel was in Iraq. . But he says climate change and water politics are putting the region on edge. This will result in further destruction of soil structure and overall loss of biota. Now we suggest an alternative location for Eden in the Indus Valley. We compared their structure and functions with the remaining natural Al-Hawizeh as well as with recorded historical values for Iraqi marshes (Nunnery 1997, Richardson and Nunnery 1998, 2001, Richardson et al. Restoring Iraq's Garden of Eden. Since March 2003, when US forces and 29 allies invaded Noah built the ark in Iraq. L It has been suggested that an ecosystem with an EFA within 20% of a reference system for all indicators is functioning within its normal range (Nunnery 1997). 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