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Restoring Nature, Without Mosquitoes?



The benefits of wetlands are now widely appreciated. Less widely known is that historically many wetlands were drained to help control malaria and other deadly diseases. This essay's general theme is that there are pros and cons to restoration or creation of wetlands. The specific theme is that mosquitoes pose practical and theoretical problems. In particular, abundant mosquitoes should not be regarded as an after-the-fact surprising side effect but rather, abundant mosquitoes should be viewed as a primary and foreseeable effect of providing habitat suitable for them. Yet our funding mechanisms and educational institutions often fail properly to address the reality that restoring or creating wetlands has a downside.