Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Papyrus Swamps of the World-The Sudd

The Sudd– A Papyrus Swamp of Large Proportion

In size it is second only to the Pantanal in S. America, which is the largest swamp in the world. The Sudd is now a Ramsar site, a declared international wetland reserve, which the Pantanal is not, therefore the Sudd is the largest protected swamp in the world.

Along the White Nile south of Khartoum, in Sudan, the Sudd is a 14 million acre wetland, dominated by swamp grasses and papyrus. It expands with the rains to 32 million very wet acres, the size of England.

The aerial photo was provided by Dr. Georg Petersen of HYDROC Consult a group that provides expert engineering consultancy services through a network of independent specialists ( Dr. Petersen is involved in research projects in cooperation with the University of Kiel and the University of Nairobi in Kenya, Makerere University in Uganda, Khartoum University in Sudan and University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.

The photo shows only a small part of the Sudd, a section of papyrus swamp that has a characteristic compact dark green color. A channel is clearly seen in the photo that is kept clear for easy passage of boats, unlike the case many years ago in Victorian days when explorers, like Samuel and Florence Baker, had to force a passage for their steamer as shown in the sketch.

Today the Sudd is threatened by the Jonglei Canal, a 220 mile canal intended to by-pass the swamp, one of the causes for the outbreak of the civil war in 1983 between North and South Sudan, the canal has been temporarily halted by civil disturbance. If completed as planned it could cause considerable ecological damage.

Don’t forget to check out more interesting facts and juicy gossip on my web page and blogs at:   Also get on board early with my new book on papyrus to be published by Pegasus in June 2014, called The Plant That Changed the World, now available for pre-purchase on at

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