This morning we went on a bush walk with some of the Marloth Park honorary rangers.
Our leader and guide was André, a very experienced naturalist and ranger who seemed to have a good working knowledge of geology, botany, agronomy, chemistry, ecology and bush craft. A sort of Sir David Attenborough with an Afrikaans accent, and some pretty cheesy jokes.
Things like why the gravel and sand is coarser on one side of the stream bed than the other; how to safely approach a warthog ‘nest’ under partly exposed tree roots; why impalas make a midden in an infertile spot; why certain trees produce new leaves even as they are still shedding their old leaves (I’m looking at you, Mr. jackalberry); why the stream banks are shaped differently on the outside curves versus the inside, and what effect that different bank shape has on relative soil fertility. And lots more.
A very interesting couple of hours. The main lesson from the experience: Everything has its purpose and its time, and everything is connected by some route (often very subtle) to everything else, so when you intervene over here, it will have consequences over there. And much of the time it’ll be unintended consequences.