Bringing back the Iraqi marshes

We blogged over a year ago about the re-flooding of the Iraqi marshes, but fairly briefly, and it’s great to see a long piece about this restoration process in Der Spiegel today. The slideshow which accompanies the article provides the best visual summary I’ve seen of what happened to the marshes — and their inhabitants, with their crops and livestock. I’ve put the “before” and “after” shots side-by-side below:

The Iraqi marshes before and after they were drained by Saddam Hussein's regime.

Apart from its inherent interest, the Der Spiegel article also gives me the excuse to mention that a detailed map of the world’s river systems has just been made available, by Bernhard Lehner at McGill University in MontrĂ©al, Canada. Is anyone keeping track of the proliferation of such global geographic dataset? Google? ESRI? The CGIAR’s Spatial Information Conundrum? Anyone?

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