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In the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein drained the great wetlands of southern Iraq, destroying them, he turned them into desert.
Since his overthrow, a remarkable effort has begun to restore these Mesopotamian Marshes, among the most important wetland habitat in the world.
One man is leading the way, attempting to rejuvenate the marshes and bring back the diversity of animals and plants that once lived there.
A BBC film crew has followed his progress, revealing how he and his colleagues are succeeding in attracting rare birds back to a land ravaged by persecution and war.
By Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News