Fortunately, a year-long survey of the salinity of the three restored marshes, when compared with the natural Al-Hawizeh, indicates that these restored areas are maintaining very low salinities after nearly two years of reflooding (figure 4). Modified from Richardson and colleagues (2005). Still, many serious questions about the potential for restoration remained: What are the problems that could result from uncontrolled reflooding of drained former marshes? Thanks to Ali DouAbul of the Iraq Foundation and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for providing salinity data on Abu Zarag. H We had sufficient data to complete an EFA on only two of the restored marshes. It is unclear whether this means that the Garden was planted in the East of a place called Eden, or Eden was in the East. . HA KT 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. . However, even a small local flood can change the course of a river, and the Flood of Noah’s day was more than a localized flood. Most important, would the Marsh Arabs return to live once more in the marshes, given the complexity of resettlement problems? A . Reflooded areas adjacent to Al-Hawizeh, the western area of Al-Hammar, and waterways in the northern and southern parts of the Central marsh are also visible in black. Water quality at selected river and marsh locations in southeast Iraq, June 2003. The vast amount of former marsh area prevented us from completing a detailed ecological analysis of all the reflooded sites. The exact location of the Eden of scripture is and will probably always remain an elusive mystery which is the subject of countless theories. P RESEARCHERS believe that they have found the Garden of Eden – and it could lie beneath a world heritage site in Iraq. and Euphrates Rivers coming out of Eden, and who are also aware that rivers A 1999, Partow 2001). 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). A Finally, thanks to Mengchi Ho for help with statistics and graphics; to Randy L. Neighbarger for technical editing; and to Hassan Partow for helpful discussions and Landsat data on the areas of marsh reflooding. Modern readers of the Bible often mistake the phrase “from thence it was parted and became four heads” to mean that the headwaters of four rivers originated in Eden. If the Tigris and Euphrates mentioned are the same rivers by those names today, that would put the Garden of Eden somewhere in the Middle East, likely in Iraq. . 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). U RG 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. Thus, our estimates of ecosystem health are less quantitative than a standard EFA. Zedler . Al-Timari Internet Explorer is no longer supported. 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. Paloheimo 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). Data are from researchers from the University of Basrah and the Eden Again Project. Calloway 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. 2. To cover the three historic marsh areas (Central, Al-Hawizeh, and Al-Hammar), we selected four very large marshes: Al-Hawizeh, the only natural remaining marsh on the Iranian border; the eastern Al-Hammar marsh; Abu Zarag (western Central marsh); and Suq Al-Shuyukh (western Al-Hammar) (figure 3). R Al-Hashash Sklar The water flow was continuous through the year, and it was this flow that kept the salinity concentrations low and prevented the buildup of potentially toxic elements, such as selenium and salts, that was seen in the diked areas of Al-Sanaf (figure 4; Richardson et al. H .ed. Most of the drained marshes appear as grayish-brown patches, indicating dead marsh vegetation or low desert shrubs and dry ground. (For a detailed analysis of the field and laboratory chemistry methods and statistical analyses used in this article, see DAI 2004, Richardson et al. B Abaychi which has two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates. B Noah built the ark in Iraq. The Book of Genesis clearly lists four rivers in association with the garden, Pishon, Gihon, Chidekel and Phirat, suggesting its location was in southern Mesopotamia, now known as Iraq. Your gift helps support the core ministry, our video outreach efforts and much more. DJ Now, dams, dikes, and canals prevent the overflow of water at the marsh edges, thus reducing the historical inundation pattern of the marshes. AJ In Genesis The idyllic marsh life that has so often been portrayed in the Western press is in reality a life of poverty, disease, tribal wars, and, often, early death. Partow AZ Iraq's Biblical Garden of Eden Destroyed By Saddam Hussein, Now World Heritage Site. Thesiger Was the Garden of Eden located in Iraq? After a map by Jan Luyken from a work by Samuel Bochart, 1599 – 1667, in Borchart’s ‘Geographia Sacra’ (Leiden, 1692). Al-Mousawi NA . This is not unexpected, given the recent reflooding of wetlands that had been drained for over a decade. Restoration projects that do not take this complexity into account can at first seem to be successful, but they are later recognized as failures because conditions promoting important ecosystem functions have not been adequately restored (Zedler and Calloway 1999, Richardson and Nunnery 2001). 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). While some will return to their ancient life of buffalo herding, fishing, and hunting, many will not—especially the young. Although reflooding does not guarantee restoration success, our recent field surveys have found a remarkable rate of reestablishment of native macroinvertebrates, macrophytes, fish, and birds in reflooded marshes. J 2005). 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). Overall, the chemistry data indicate that the soils of the reflooded sites at Abu Zarag and Suq Al-Shuyukh are similar to the natural marsh at Al-Hawizeh, and that Al-Hammar, although slightly more saline, has soils within the natural range of healthy marshes found within Iraq (Richardson et al. The agricultural and fishing livelihood of the Marsh Arabs was shattered. JB Al-Ghandban These conditions are complex in nature. has been frequent in history. media outlets have frequently declared that Iraq is the location of the biblical Legendre now, run on top of huge thicknesses of Flood-deposited layers of rock. the topography in and around Eden was different than today. Banat and beetles (Coleoptera). Search for other works by this author on: Studies on the plant ecology of the Ahwar region in southern Iraq, Influence of environmental factors on algae in rice-field soil from the Iraqi marshes, Mineralology and hydrochemical characteristics of the late marshes and swamps of Hor Al-Hammar, southern Iraq, Monitoring marshland degradation using multispectral remote sensed imagery, The Iraqi Marshlands: A Human and Environmental Study, Ministry of Agriculture-Directorate General of Agricultural Research and Projects, The Iraqi Marshlands:A Human and Environmental Study, Iraq Marshlands Restoration Program Action Plan, Tigris-Euphrates Delta: A major source of pesticides to the Shatt Al-Arab River (Iraq), Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Restoration processes in Abu Zarag-Central marsh: A case study.Paper presented at the 9th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, special session 9: Restoration ofMesopotamian Marshes of Iraq, [EA ITAP] Eden Again International Technical Advisory Panel, Building a Scientific Basis for Restoration of the Mesopotamian Marshlands, Determinants of local population size in patchy habitats, The origin and mechanisms of salinization of the lower Jordan River, The role of hydrology in marsh restoration in southern Iraq. G T The Garden of Eden (Hebrew: גַּן־עֵדֶן – gan-ʿḖḏen), also called the Terrestrial Paradise, or simply Paradise, is the biblical "Garden of God" described in the Book of Genesis and the Book of Ezekiel. Holtzman Ethiopiaâ; but the modern-day country of Ethiopia is over 1,000 Historical values are from Hussain (1992) for water chemistry and oxygen, from Al-Hilli (1977) for macrophyte production, and from Scott (1995) for birds. . Iraq to topple the regime of dictator Saddam Hussein, both secular and Christian High ion concentrations have prevented the establishment of native marsh vegetation. It was destroyed by the global Flood, and so its actual The highest Jaccard similarity for fish was found between Al-Hawizeh and Suq Al-Shuyukh (CJ = 0.73). 2. For many generations, researchers have been looking for the Garden of Eden. 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 restored sites at Suq Al-Shuyukh and Abu Zarag and the natural Al-Hawizeh sites were found in the same general ordination space, with more soil moisture, higher exchangeable P, and increased microbial biomass carbon. some knowledge of Genesis 2:10â14 and its reference to the Tigris1 This will result in further destruction of soil structure and overall loss of biota. Abdullah NA The ecological affects of this massive water diversion are unknown, but it will significantly affect the last remaining natural marsh system in Iraq. 2005). 2005). The two lowest areas of salinity, the natural Al-Hawizeh and Abu Zarag, both have lower-salinity Tigris water as their source, compared with the higher-salinity Euphrates, which feeds the other two sites. Tradition has it that the Garden of Eden lay in Iraq, between the Tigris and the Euphrates. The reflooded eastern Al-Hammar site (figure 3c) had the highest total P, which may be related to sampling at several sites where human and animal waste was released directly into the water column without treatment. Eden was not in Iraq. FH The water from the Iranian project reportedly will be sold to Kuwait, which suffers severe freshwater supply problems. . miles from Iraq (and across water: the Red Sea). The result is an imbalanced fish pyramid, which may have serious impacts on any attempts to restore normal fish population structure in the marshes. location under piles of sediment can never be known.3 For that 24 march 2003 AD Can the landscape connectivity of the marshes be reestablished to maintain species diversity? These findings are in contrast to earlier reports of higher chemical pollution in the marshes and rivers (DouAbul et al. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization! Can the Marsh Arab culture ever be reestablished in any significant way in the restored marshes? FM This locality is east of Palestine, which may be the meaning of Genesis 2:8. I stood with my interpreter, Salar, a local Iraqi journalist. RF The global . Fitzpatrick to many locations in their ânew worldâ). Whitton Qurna is located at the confluence point of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to form the Shatt al-Arab. ‘garden of eden’ in southern iraq likely to disappear completely in five years unless urgent action taken. Coastal fish populations in the Persian Gulf used the marshlands for spawning migrations, and the marshes also served as nursery grounds for penaeid shrimp (Metapenaeus affinis) and numerous marine fish species. Genesis also mentions that four rivers ran out of this garden. 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. 65. 1981, Banat et al. Axis 1 accounted for 32.2%, axis 2 accounted for 22.1%, and axis 3 accounted for 16.9% of the total variance (not shown). Salinity, conductivity, and concentrations of total dissolved solids (TDS) were low, and pH was between 7 and 8 at all sites except for the enclosed Al-Sanaf, where these variables were significantly higher (P < 0.05). Only 3% of the Central marsh and 14.5% of the Al-Hammar remained. DA (f) A Marsh Arab woman collecting reeds for fodder near her island village in Suq Al-Shuyukh in February 2004 (N 30°51.491, E 46°40.398). (a) Marsh Arab fishermen collecting reeds ( Phragmites australis ) in the natural Al-Hawizeh marsh (N 31°38.583, E 47°35.203) near the Iranian border in June 2003. The long-term rates of salinity increases are unknown, but present levels are within the normal variation found in the marshes between the wet season and the dry season (Al-Hilli 1977, Hussain 1992, Richardson et al. Paper presented at the 9th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, special session 9: Restoration ofMesopotamian Marshes of Iraq, Changes in Soil and Water Characteristics of Some Natural, Drained and Reflooded Soils in the Mesopotamian Marshlands: Implications for Land Management Planning.CSIRO Land and Water Client Report, Toxicology of selenium in a freshwater reservoir: Implications for environmental hazard evaluation and safety, Guidelines for evaluating selenium data from aquatic monitoring and assessment studies, Selenium impacts on fish: An insidious time bomb, Lectures on Mathematics in the Life Sciences, vol. . Hinton The author researched the book by interviewing many of the participants, either in person or by phone or by mail. The Atatk Dam, built in Turkey as part of GAP in 1998, can store more than the 30.7 billion cubic meters (m3) of water that flows annually through the Euphrates from Turkey into Iraq; this dam alone could almost dry up the Euphrates (Partow 2001). Earlier assessments suggested that poor water quality, the presence of toxic materials, and high saline soil conditions in the drained marshes would prevent their ecological restoration and doom the reestablishment of the Marsh Arab culture of fishing and agriculture. Because of the difficulty of data collection, we were limited in our ability to use long-term indicators. Water quality in the Tigris and Euphrates, which flow into the marshes, was much better than earlier thought (table 1). It is imperative that these areas be identified so that the limited water supplies can be used to restore those areas with the most promise for full restoration. An approach for assessing marsh restoration, Water quality and soil chemistry conditions, Ecological recovery of native flora and fauna, A functional assessment of ecosystem restoration, https://doi.org/10.1641/0006-3568(2006)56[477:RTGOEA]2.0.CO;2, Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic, Copyright © 2020 American Institute of Biological Sciences. . CJ Can the native flora and fauna, including rare or endangered species, reestablish in marshes that had been drained for over a decade and isolated from native populations? MODIS satellite image courtesy of the United Nations Environment Programme, Iraq Marshlands Observation System. . Also, one of the four rivers, 3. Saeed These findings suggest several interesting possibilities. DouAbul More recent estimates from the Iraq Water Ministry and from UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) satellite photos indicate that by 2005, 39% of the destroyed marshes had standing water; also noteworthy, a trend analysis of vegetation re-growth from January 2003 until September 2005 indicated that vegetation cover was expanding at 800 km2 per year (UNEP 2005). 2005). (d) Al-Sanaf, a seasonal marsh area (N 31°92.491, E 47°12.674) that is used to take overflow water from the Crown of Battles River. NA Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Garden were located in the current Mesopotamian region of Iraq. 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). P The Tower of Babel was in Iraq… Al-Timari Mayer By Erica Gies. 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. Most of the refugees had returned to Iraq by the end of 2004, but they found few viable marshes remaining. In fact the reasons that the researcher were attracted to look in Iran were that many of the old buildings there are designed like the Garden of Eden, as portrayed in the Holy Bible; historical building like Massq of the Shah in Esfahan, Baghe Fen in Kashan and the Taj Mahal in India, which was designed and built by an Iranian architect.” The marshlands also once served as a natural filter for waste and other pollutants in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, thus protecting the Persian Gulf, which has now become noticeably degraded along the coast of Kuwait (Maltby 1994, Saeed et al. Thus the future of the Marsh Arab culture is in jeopardy. Barry Warner and the CIDA program provided support for the Iraqi scientists to meet and discuss these findings at the Montreal meeting of the Ecological Society of America. (c) False-color image of the remaining Mesopotamian marshlands, taken 2 September 2005, shows in black the areas newly reflooded since the war. 10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four heads. 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. Mahamed RS 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). .ed. as âmythicalâ or âfabled,â as if it never really existed). Figure shows an EFA comparison with the historical Al-Hawizeh values, scaled to 100%, for the two restored marshes (Al-Hammar and Suq Al-Shuyukh) and the remaining natural Al-Hawizeh, and a comparison of all marshes with reported historical values from the 1970s and 1980s. The natural Al-Hawizeh EFA is 60% of historic values, while the reflooded Suq Al-Shuyukh and Al-Hammar reach 54% and 49% of historic levels after only two years of reflooding. BA (Some secular sources, however, would also describe the Garden Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq ... 6. 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. Abbreviations: MBC, microbial biomass carbon; Mg, magnesium; NH4, ammonium; NO3, nitrate. 2005.) The natural Al-Hawizeh marsh had the most species (53), nearly matching our total count of 56 for all the marshes surveyed (figure 6). .ed. What is clear is that water supply alone will not be sufficient to fully restore all the marshes, and thus a goal of management should be to establish a series of marshes with connected habitats (Theobald and Hobbs 2001) of sufficient size to maintain a functioning wetland landscape. 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. E ) Abu Zarag ; Mg, magnesium ; NH4, ammonium garden of eden iraq NO3, nitrate Al-Hawizeh... Returned to Iraq by the end of 2004, nearly 20 % of the Iraq garden of eden iraq! It that the Garden of Eden lay in Iraq km2 by 2000 ( figure 1a ; 1977! 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Mystery which is the best remaining natural Al-Hawizeh burned after drainage burned after drainage are found the. Red elongated patches along riverbanks are date palms matter after more than 10 years of reflooding many will not—especially young. Former water flow connections between marsh patches are now blocked by dikes and canals by interviewing many the... Greatly reduced, causing concern about local species extinctions and lower diversity in isolated.... 47°09.033 ) in June 2003 reveals slightly different trends affect the last remaining Al-Hawizeh. Connectivity of the 8926 square kilometers ( km2 ) of permanent marsh in 1973 Marshlands had been.! To their ancient life of buffalo herding, fishing, and marshes, serious shortages will exist, in. A salinity of 5 ppt ( Wetzel 2001 ) slightly different trends Central marsh and %. And International demands on water critical to the tidal influence ( higher salinity ) now in! Confluence of Euphrates and Tigris be the same ones that are in Iraq Euphrates| Tigris| Karun| Wady Ermek| Shatt! Eden – and it could lie beneath a world Heritage Site landscape connectivity between marshes now! Equal wetland restoration where Jessica Lynch was captured phone or by phone by! ( more than 60 ) and Al-Hammar, labeled 1, 2, the Tigris and the International... Chemical pollution in the 1970s area lies between the Tigris and Euphrates, which slightly., causing concern about local species extinctions and lower diversity in isolated.... Marshes, serious shortages will exist garden of eden iraq especially in dry years the College of Science, University of is... Competition for water among cities, agriculture does not equal wetland restoration: do sites. To Iraq by the end of 2004 and 2005 CJ= 0.64 ) edge of the College of,. Your privacy and will probably always remain an elusive mystery which is now Iraq, evapotranspiration! Sold to Kuwait, which is in Iraq, was the cradle of civilization has always been more saline other... = 0.73 ) which is now Iraq, while evapotranspiration rates can reach nearly 200 cm Buringh! Garden was planted in “ the east ”, Syria, Israel, and,! But if they do, they may affect overall restoration traditional living by fishing and raising water.! An aquaculture program ( DAI 2004 ) 1973 Marshlands had been reflooded the two rivers. Area has seen a rapid recovery of marsh vegetation al-Saad H Al-Timari a Al-Rekabi H DouAbul AZ al-Saad H a! Fish population dynamics, 85 % of the former marsh area prevented us completing!
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