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Within the UNEP UNESCO joint project “World Heritage inscription process as a tool to enhance natural and cultural management of Iraqi Marshlands Phase II”, UNESCO Iraq Office organized the first of a series of three workshops for members of the two national drafting teams, cultural and natural, for

Defining the OUVs of the site

Identifying existing documentation gaps

Identifying issues facing the integrity and authenticity of the values.

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  3. 3. PrefaceThe Marshes and their inhabitants have witnessed three wars, a catastrophic draining and a precarious recovery process over the last 30 years.Environmental management in Iraq and particularly in the Marshes still suffers from this legacy.The nomination and inscription process is therefore not seen as an end in itself, but as a means to provide incentives and guidance for the development of a sustainable management regime for the Marshes in general.This management regime needs to integrate and build on the numerous existing initiatives for sustainable management of the Marshes, and therefore be based on an active multi-stakeholder network and their strong communication and coordination mechanisms. 3
  4. 4. Criteria to sites nomination for World Heritage listTo be included on the World HeritageList, sites must meet at least one ofthe ten World Heritage criteria aswell as requirements concerningtheir integrity, protection andmanagement. Four criteria recognizesites in relation to their naturalvalues, including aesthetics, earthscience, ecosystems and species: 4
  5. 5. Criteria to sites nomination for World Heritage listCriterion (vii) contain superlativenatural phenomena or areas ofexceptional natural beauty andaesthetic importanceCriterion (viii) be outstandingexamples representing major stagesof earth’s history, including the recordof life, significant on-going geologicalprocesses in the development oflandforms, or significant geomorphicor physiographic features. 5
  6. 6. Criteria to sites nomination for World Heritage listCriterion (ix) to be outstandingexamples representing significant on-going ecological and biologicalprocesses in the evolution anddevelopment of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystemsand communities of plants andanimals.Criterion (x): to contain the mostimportant and significant naturalhabitats for in-situ conservation ofbiological diversity, including thosecontaining threatened species ofOutstanding Universal Value fromthe point of view of science orconservation 6
  7. 7. Exceptional natural beautyIt is difficult to assess naturalbeauty, because of the lack ofobjective indicators . Comparablesites should be distributedglobally not regionally in order tofulfill this element of the criterion.One way of collecting evidence ofthe exceptional natural beauty ofthe Marshes would be to compilereferences to it from the literature,arts, travel writing and the media.It is difficult to assess the currentstate of the aesthetic values of theMarshes, because of the rapidtransition that the system isundergoing.In addition, the subjective natureof some aspects of World Heritagecriterion vii means that a directcomparison to similar sites wouldneed to be made before a decisionabout the feasibility of anomination of the Marshes underthis criterion. 7
  8. 8. Integrity of the Marshes as ahydrological systemIt needs to be demonstrated that,even if the natural hydrologicalregime of the Marshes is not fullyfunctional anymore, the hydrologicalfunctionality of the Marshes issufficient to support identified valuesnominated under the selected WorldHeritage criteria (and, indirectly, thecultural values of the Marshinhabitants’ culture)Since the current “natural”hydrological regime alone does notfully support these values, this is anessential management issue: Thehydrological management plan of thepossible future property needs toshow how environmental factors onwhich its potential OUV depends(extent of inundation and waterdepth, hydroperiod, hydropattern,water quality including salinity,nutrient concentrations andconcentrations of pesticides andother toxins, etc.) will be kept withina favorable range for themaintenance of ecosystem andbiodiversity values, through targetedhydrological management. 8
  9. 9. Integrity of ecosystem andbiodiversity valuesThe integrity of the ecosystem andbiodiversity values of the Marshes isnot only threatened by thecompromised hydrological regimebut also by other factors, such ashunting,alien and invasive species,habitat destruction throughconversion to agricultural areas,eutrophication due to agriculturalrunoffand other factors.The nomination file needs to explainhow the values of the Marsheswould be safeguarded throughconservation and ecosystemmanagement, in the course ofmanagement of the site. Therefore,this is also a management issue, towhich generic tools of ecosystemand protected areas managementare applicable. 9
  10. 10. Seasonal migrations ofbirds and other faunaThe importance of the Marshes as awintering and resting area formigratory waterbirds and othermigratory birds.Historical data on bird migration inthe Marshes suggest that they wereone of the largest wintering areasfor migratory waterbirds in theMiddle East, one of the largestwintering areas for ducks of theWest Eurasia-Caspian-Nile Flyway,and a crucial resting area forshorebirds of the West Asian – EastAfrican Flyway. -Thereby, they contributesignificantly to intercontinentalflyways of global importance and tobreeding populations of migratorywaterbirds across western Asia.In addition, the Marshes weredescribed as very importantwintering areas for several raptorand passerine species. 10
  11. 11. Integrity of the Marshes as ahotspot of evolution, speciationand endemismThe integrity of the Marshes as acentre of endemism is impacted bythe fact that several of the speciesand subspecies that are restrictedto the Marshes and their vicinityare currently endangered orcritically endangered.The conservation status of severalof the other species is unclear.Additional populations that mightbe at an earlier stage of speciationare also under threat.In order to make a sound case forthese values of the Marshes, thepreparation team will have toconfirm the presence and status ofseveral species of interest, andinclude specific measures aimed attheir conservation in themanagement plan of a possiblefuture World Heritage site in theMarshes. 11
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  13. 13. Biodiversity criterion (criterion x)Criterion x is the World Heritagecriterion that is most directlyimportant from the point of view ofbiodiversity. It is beyond doubt thatthe Marshes have exceptionalbiodiversity value: They are amongWWF’s Global 200.and have been characterized as anEndemic Bird Area, they contain aRamsar, as well as several ImportantBird Areas. They may also containImportant Plant Areas. 13
  14. 14. FloraSeveral comprehensive studieshave been published on the floraof Iraq. It is estimated that a totalof 3,300 vascular plant speciesoccur in Iraq, and that 10% ofthem are endemic. 14
  15. 15. Flora and Vegetation of the MarshesThe emergent vegetation in most of thewetlands is dominated by Reed Phragmitesaustralis and Reedmace Typha angustifolia, Reed Phragmites australis and Reedmace Typha angustifoliawith interspersed patches of Bulrush Bulrush SchoenoplectusSchoenoplectus lacustris and Giant Cane-grass lacustris and Giant Cane-grass ArundoArundo donax. Reed was the dominant plant in donaxpermanently flooded areas, whereas ReedReedmace was more common in seasonally Reedmaceflooded areas, with low sedges and rushes rushes sedges(Carex spp., Juncus spp., Scirpus brachyceras) (Carex spp., Juncus spp., Scirpusforming the ephemeral and salt-tolerant brachyceras)vegetation of temporarily flooded areas. Thedamp and slightly banks of marshland deltaswere lined with tamarisk Tamarix spp. and Tamarix spp. and willow Salix spp., withwillow Salix spp., with stretches of grasses, stretches of grasses, sedges and rushessedges and rushes (e.g. Juncus arabicus, Carex (e.g. Juncus arabicus, Carex divisa,divisa, Paspulum distichum, Scirpus littoralis) in Paspulum distichum, Scirpus littoralis) inbetween. The nutrients supplied by inflowing between.river water enabled the growth of exceptionallytall (up to 8 m) and coarse reeds. 15
  16. 16. Plant species encountered in the southern Ahwar between 1972 and 1975. (Source: Al-Hilli 2009)Category Sub- Habitat Total category Wet Saline Desert Rudera number2 lTrees (>120 cm) 5 0 0 0 5Shrubs (>120 cm) 3 7 1 0 9Low shrubs (30– Woody 1 1 16 2 16120 cm) Succulents 0 7 2 0 9Perennials Perennial 7 2 2 7 13 grass Herbaceou 53 4 25 18 89 s Parasites 0 0 1 0 1Annuals Grasses 6 9 15 25 35 Herbs 22 11 108 70 184 Succulents 0 4 5 3 8 Parasites 2 0 0 0 2Total 99 45 175 125 371 16
  17. 17. Flora and Vegetation of the MarshesPlant CommunitiesThere are three major groups of plants in theMarshes: xerophytes, halophytes andhydrophytes. Each group of these plants isassociated with defined topographic, andclimatic conditions.Globally threatened and endemic plant speciesof the Marshes:The global IUCN Red List of Threatened Speciesmerely lists five species for the entire Iraq, all asLeast Concern or Lower Risk/Least Concern.Among them is Cyperus rotundus, which wasfound in the Marshes before draining but notreported afterwards. 17
  18. 18. List of the five most common plant species in three different marshes Hawizeh Suq Al-Shuyukh Hammar (Natural marsh) (Reflooded marsh) (Reflooded marsh) CeratophyllumPhragmites australis Phragmites australis demersum Ceratophyllum Ceratophyllum Myriophyllum demersum demersum verticillatum Salvinia natans Typha domingensis Phragmites australis Schoenoplectus Lemna minor Panicum repens littoralis Schoenoplectus PotamogetonTypha domingensis littoralis pectinatus 18
  19. 19. FishesA study about the primary division of theichthyofauna of the Tigris-Euphrates basin.It comprises 52 species in 7 families,dominated by the Cyprinidae with 34 Cyprinidaespecies. 22 species are considered endemicto the basin. As for Iraq, which occupies thelower part of this basin, the freshwater fishfauna consists of 44 native and 13 exoticfreshwater species. Of the native species,14 are considered endemic to the Tigris-Euphrates, Most of these species belong to Cyprinidaethe Cyprinidae and particularly to the genus BurbusBarbus, and some of them are economicallyimportant.. Recently, had been Aphanius mesopotamicusdescribed a new species, Aphaniusmesopotamicus, from Qarmat `Ali, Basraharea on the Shatt Al- Arab, the confluenceof the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and fromIran. 19
  20. 20. Economically important fish species of the Marshes Barbus barbulus Barbus esocinus Barbus grypus Barbus sharpeyi Barbus xanthopterus Barbus luteus Aspius vorax Carassius auratus Ctenopharyngodon idella Cyprinus carpio Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Tenualosa ilisha Liza abu Nematalosa nasus Silurus triostegus Alburnus mossulensis Mugil dussumieri Acanthopagrus latus 20
  21. 21. FishesThreatened and endemicfreshwater fish species of theMarshesOnly two species of freshwater Caecocyprisfish of Iraq (Caecocypris basimi Typhlogarra basimiand Typhlogarra widdowsoni) are widdowsonilisted as vulnerable according inthe IUCN Red List of Threatened IUCNSpecies. 21
  22. 22. Endemic fish species of the Tigris-Euphrates basin Cyprinidae Barbus (Luciobarbus) esocinus Barbus (Kosswigobarbus) kosswigi Barbus (Mesopotamichthys) sharpeyi Barbus (Luciobarbus) subquincunciatus Barbus (Luciobarbus) xanthopterus Caecocypris basimi Cyprinion kais Hemigrammocapoeta elegans Typhlogarra widdowsoni1 Balitoridae Barbatula frenata Sisoridae Glyptothorax kurdistanicus Glyptothorax steindachneri Siluridae Silurus triostegus Cyprinodontidae Aphanius mesopotamicus 22
  23. 23. FishesMarine fish species in the Marshes :Several species of marine fishes regularlyenter the Shatt al Arab River. A total of 25marine species have been listed for theMarshes, but only eight have been givenspecies accounts. Of these species, only theBull Shark Carcharhinus leucas is listed as Bull Sharknear-threatened on the IUCN Red List of Carcharhinus leucasThreatened Species, but the importance ofthe Marshes for diadromous speciesnevertheless adds to their overall diadromous???biodiversity and OUV contribution. 23
  24. 24. Family Species Carcharhinidae Carcharhinus leucas Engraulidae Thryssa hamiltonii Thryssa whiteheadiMarine and Clupeidae Tenualosa ilishadiadromous Ariidae Netuma bilineatusfish species Plicofollis layardiknown to Mugilidae Liza klunzingerioccur in the Liza subviridisIraqi Hemiramphidae Hemiramphus marginatusMarshlands Rhynchorhamphus georgii Belonidae Strongylura strongylurus Platycephalidae Platycephalus indicus Sillaginidae Sillago sihama Sparidae Acanthopagrus berda Acanthopagrus latus Sparidentex hasta Sciaenidae Johnius belangerii Otolithes ruber Gobiidae Bathygobius fuscus Scatophagidae Scatophagus argus Stromateidae Pampus argenteus Pampus chinensis Soleidae Brachirus orientalis 24
  25. 25. FishesExotic fish species in the MarshesAccording to an analysis, 13 exoticfreshwater species of the Tigris-Euphrates basin have beenintroduced to the Tigris-Euphratesbasin. recorded six exotic speciesfrom Hammar Marsh. Four exoticspecies (Ctenopharyngodon idella,Cyprinus carpio, Carassius carassius (Ctenopharyngodon idella,and Heteropneustus fossilis) were Cyprinus carpio, Carassiusfound in both Hammar and Al- carassius and HeteropneustusHawizeh marshes. fossilis) 25
  26. 26. Cyprinidae Ctenopharyngodon idella Carassius carassius Hemiculter leucisculusExotic fish Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Hypophthalmichthys nobilisspeciesof the HeteropneustidaeTigris- Heteropneustes fossilisEuphrates Pangasiidaebasin Pangasius sp. Gambusia holbrooki Poecilia latipinna Cichlidae Oreochromis aureus Oreochromis niloticus Tilapia zillii 26
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  28. 28. Herpetofauna: Amphibians and reptilesabout 96 species of reptiles and amphibianshave been recorded from Iraq. If there islittle recent information about theherpetofauna of Iraq in general, then this isparticularly true for the Marshes. Had beencommented on the extreme abundance offrogs, but did not indicate species. And hadbeen reported six species of reptiles from Marshes (Ophisops elegans, Agama cf.areas in the vicinity of the Marshes persicus, Mabuya aurata(Ophisops elegans, Agama cf. persicus, septemtaeniata, Trachylepis vittatus,Mabuya aurata septemtaeniata, Trachylepis Eryx jaculus, Platycepsvittatus, Eryx jaculus, Platyceps ventromaculatus).ventromaculatus). And had been reportedseven gecko species from southern Iraq.Two of these (Hemidactylus flaviviridis andH. persicus) were also found in the sameregion. (Hemidactylus flaviviridis and H. persicus) 28
  29. 29. Herpetofauna: Amphibians and reptilesTypical reptiles of the Marshes include theCaspian Terrapin Mauremys caspica, the the Caspian Terrapin Mauremys caspica,Euphrates Softshelled Turtle Rafetus the Euphrates Softshelled Turtleeuphraticus, several geckos of the genus Rafetus euphraticus,Hemidactylus, two species of skinks Hemidactylus,(Trachylepis aurata and Mabuya vittata),and a variety of snakes of the genus (Trachylepis aurata and Mabuya vittata),Coluber, the Sand Boa Eryx jaculus, theTessellated Water Snake Natrix tessellata Coluberand Grays Desert Racer Coluber the Sand Boa Eryx jaculus, the Tessellatedventromaculatus. The Desert Monitor Water Snake Natrix tessellata and(Varanus griseus) was formerly common in Grays Desert Racer Coluberdeserts near the Marshes, but is now rare ventromaculatus.due to heavy persecution (Varanus griseus) 29
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  31. 31. Herpetofauna: Amphibians and reptilesThreatened amphibians and reptiles ofthe MarshesAmong herpetofauna, only the EuphratesSoft-shell Turtle Rafetus euphraticus, islisted (as endangered) on the IUCN Red Rafetus euphraticusList of Threatened Species (IUCN 2010).The Red List website mentions that there is IUCNa need for an update of the 1996assessment for this species. The turtle isendemic to the Tigris-Euphrates basin,with the Marshes forming its southernrange limit. 31
  32. 32. Avifauna BirdsBirds of IraqThe birds of Iraq have been investigatedrelatively extensively over the past 100 years.The total number of bird species recorded inIraq was 375, of which 134 were aquatic.A key contribution to the potential OUV of theMarshes has been their role as one of themajor historical wintering, resting and stagingareas for migratory water birds in westernEurasia. 32
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  34. 34. Avifauna Birds of Iraq MarshlandsThesiger (1954) described the huge numbersand diversity of birds observed during his stayin the Marshes:“During the winter months the marshes arealive with wildfowl. (…) All kinds of Europeanduck winter here, as well as the marbled duck(malha), which remains to breed. I havewatched spellbound while seemingly endlessskeins of geese, white-fronted and grey lag,passed overhead and the cold air rang withtheir calling. (…) Common cormorants, pigmycormorants, darters, grebes, herons (includingthe goliath heron), spoonbills, ibis, curlews,stilts, avocets, sandpipers and snipe, gulls,terns, ospreys and harriers enliven thesemarshes during the colder months, andMadan, armed often with primitive muzzle-loading guns, go out shooting from dawn tilldusk.” 34
  35. 35. List of the five most common bird species in three different marshes Hawizeh Suq Al-Shuyukh Hammar (Natural marsh) (Reflooded marsh) (Reflooded marsh)Phalacrocorax pygmeus Egretta garzetta Egretta garzetta Egretta garzetta Ceryle rudis Larus ridibundus Tachybaptus ruficollis Ardeola ralloides Larus genei Larus canus Ardea purpurea Larus canus Larus ridibundus Vanellus leucurus Sterna albifrons 35
  36. 36. Avifauna Birds of Iraq MarshlandsGlobally threatened and endemic birdspecies and subspecies of the MarshesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(IUCN 2010) lists as vulnerable,endangered or critically endangered 15bird species that have been recorded inthe Marshes. However, one of these is adesert species that does not depend onthe marsh ecosystem, and for anotherfour of them they have been no reliablerecords from the Marshes during thelast 50 years. 36
  37. 37. Globally threatened bird species of the Marshes (vulnerable or higher)Regular recordsBasrah Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus griseldis) breeding ENLesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus) wintering VUGreater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga) wintering VUEastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) wintering VUMacqueen’s Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii) Breeding VULesser Kestrel (Falco naumannii) passage VUMarbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) breeding and wintering VUEgyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) passage ENDalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) wintering VUIsolated recordsRed-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis) rare winter vagrant ENSaker Falcon (Falco cherrug ) scarce winter visitor ENPallas’s Fish-eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus) scarce winter visitor3 VUSlender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris) regular winter visitor CRWhite-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) rare winter visitor ENSociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarious) passage CR 37
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  39. 39. MammalsIn total, 38 species of mammals havebeen recorded from the Marshes andtheir immediate vicinity. Insectivora arerepresented by five species, and batsare represented by eight species Myotis capaccinii(including the globally vulnerable Long-fingered Bat Myotis capaccinii). Twootter species have been reported from Lutra lutrathe marshlands; the Common OtterLutra lutra and the Smooth-coated Otter (or Maxwell’s Smooth-coated Otter)(or Maxwell’s Smooth-coated Otter) Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelliLutrogale perspicillata maxwelli. 39
  40. 40. MammalsGlobally threatened mammal speciesin the MarshesSix species that are known to occur inthe Marshes are globally threatened,according to the IUCN Red List ofThreatened. Three of them are near-threatened, one is endangered and twoare vulnerable. The occurrence of Goitered Gazelle GazellaGoitered Gazelle Gazella subguttorosa subguttorosahas not been confirmed recently, but itspresence is possible. 40
  41. 41. Mammals recorded from the Iraqi Marshlands and their vicinity Species Common name IUCN Status Order Insectivora Hemiechinus auritus Long-eared Hedgehog LCParaechinus aethiopicus Ethiopian Hedgehog LC Crocidura suaveolens Lesser white-toothed shrew LC Suncus murinus Asian House Shrew LC Suncus etruscus Pygmy White-toothed Shrew LC Order ChiropteraRhinopoma hardwickei Lesser Mouse-tailed Bat LCTaphozous nudiventris Naked-rumped Tomb Bat LC Eptesicus bottae Bottas Serotine LC Eptesicus nasutus Sind Serotine Bat LC Pipistrellus kuhlii Kuhls Pipistrelle LC Pipistrellus rueppellii Rüppels Pipistrelle LCOtonycteris hemprichii Desert Long-eared Bat LC Myotis capaccinii Long-fingered Bat VU 41
  42. 42. Mammals recorded from the Iraqi Marshlands and their vicinity Species Common name IUCN Status Order Carnivora Canis aureus Golden Jackal LC Canis lupus Grey Wolf LC Vulpes vulpes Red Fox LCLutrogale perspicillata Smooth-coated Otter VU maxwelli Lutra lutra Eurasian Otter NT Herpestes javanicus Small Indian Mongoose LC Mellivora capensis Honey badger LC Hyaena hyaena Striped Hyaena NT Felis silvestris Wild Cat LC Felis chaus Jungle Cat LC Caracal caracal Caracal LC 42
  43. 43. Mammals recorded from the Iraqi Marshlands and their vicinity Species Common name IUCN Status Order Artiodactyla Gazella subgutturosa Goitered Gazelle VU Sus scrofa Eurasian Wild Pig LC Order Lagomorpha Lepus capensis Cape Hare LC Order Rodentia Hystrix indica Indian Crested Porcupine LC Allactaga euphratica Euphrates Jerboa NT Jaculus jaculus Lesser Egyptian Jerboa LCGerbillus mesopotamicus Harrison’s Gerbil NE Gerbillus cheesmani Cheesmans Gerbil LC Tatera indica Indian Gerbil LC Meriones crassus Sundevalls Jird LC Nesokia bunnii Bunns Short-tailed Bandicoot Rat EN Nesokia indica Short-tailed Bandicoot Rat LC Rattus rattus Black Rat LC Rattus norvegicus Brown Rat LC 43
  44. 44. InvertebratesInvertebrates of the MarshesThe invertebrate fauna of the Marshes isreviewed based on fragmentary informationonly as it has not been studied extensively.Mollusks (including gastropods and bivalves)as well as arthropods (including isopods,amphipods and insects –particularly thedragonflies and beetles) are discussed. 44
  45. 45. InvertebratesMollusks: Had been studied theecology of three species near Shatt Al-Arab, southern Iraq. And two speciesof freshwater mussels in theMarshes. Al-Qarooni recorded fivespecies of snails (Lymnaea auricularia, (Lymnaea auricularia, Physa acuta,Physa acuta, Bellamya bengalensis and Bellamya bengalensis andGyraulus sp.) in three restored Gyraulus sp.)marshes. More recently reviewed themollusks of southern Mesopotamia,while compared mollusks in threerestored marshes, including 15gastropod and three bivalve species 45
  46. 46. InvertebratesDragonflies: 25 dragonfly species are known to occur inthe central and southern Iraqi Marshlands.reported Anax spp. and Ischnura evansi fromseveral stations along Shatt al-Arab. Anax spp. and Ischnura evansiBrachythemis fuscopalliata in theQarmat Ali region near Basrah has in recent Brachythemis fuscopalliatatimes been limited to a few areas ofpreferred habitat, including southern Iraq.Salinity of the Marsh water probably is animportant factor determining dragonflydistribution. Dragonflies inhabiting riversand marshes in arid regions such assouthern Iraq (e.g. Hemianax ephippiger, Hemianax ephippiger, Ischnura evansi andIschnura evansi and Lindenia tetraphylla) Lindenia tetraphyllaare tolerant of high salinity 46
  47. 47. InvertebratesBeetles:we were unable to list recordedspecies due to lack of access to thesources. At least 55 species of water beetles ofthe family Dytiscidae and 15 species Dytiscidaeof the family Gyrinidae occurred in the GyrinidaeShatt Al-Arab and Marshes 47
  48. 48. The key findings, which reflect theunique location and character of theMarsh ecosystem, can be summarizedas follows:- -1-The Marshes offer habitat to a widerange of recently evolved or evolving -endemic species and subspecies,including many vertebrates2 - The Marshes are inhabited by 18globally threatened animal species -3- The Marshes are one of the mostimportant wintering and resting areasfor migratory waterbirds in the Middle -East and western Eurasia 48
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  50. 50. THANK YOUAli 50