BIOMIMICRY | is a hot topic at the moment as scientists and researchers delve deep into nature to study its natural models, systems, and elements for the purpose of solving complex human problems. Gondwana game reserve was honoured to have the Biomimicry Institute of South Africa host a group of researchers on the Reserve. Gondwana’s conservation team shared the work that they have done on wetlands, land restoration and fynbos research on the reserve. The Biomimicry experts spent time drawing directly from the natural surroundings and the intricate natural systems found on Gondwana with the purpose of drawing inspiration for greater research projects. The group opened discussions around solving complex biodiversity challenges such as alien vegetation eradication and wetland rehabilitation.
Gondwana’s conservation team brought the researchers in to real-time land restoration projects on the reserve. After discussions around best practice on alien vegetation eradication and how this could be used economically to support communities in the area, everyone got involved in building actual erosion control barriers in an area where Black Wattle has been removed. As Biomimicry draws directly from nature, various different river system patterns and water flow patterns were discussed in order to define the best possible placement for the barrier. It was eventually identified that a herringbone structure or branches and hessian in wetland erosion prone areas would best hold run away soils as a result of alien clearing. We have the unique opportunity to try various methods of erosion control in order to find which method works best in different areas, taking the discussions and research through to actual experimentation, and ultimately scientific data on the different approaches.
Gondwana’s landscape consists of critically endangered Fynbos and Renosterveld areas. Our conservation team is dedicated to monitoring and researching these areas in order to preserve this incredibly important aspect of our biodiversity. We strive to understand the connection and complexity between the plants, their environment, and climate to mention a few. The Biomimicry team was exposed to various aspects of Gondwana’s plants and learned more about how plants adapt to their environment. Together with this it was fascinating to discover various principles that have been discovered and documented through their studies that draw directly from how plants survive in their environments. For example, the cone of Leucadendron rubrum is the perfect shape to store energy for the plant. It is also the area in the female plant that holds the most energy as this is where the seed if formed. In science this shape has been applied in engineering batteries that are created to store the greatest amount of energy – drawing directly from nature to solve complex human problems.