The round river comes from a folktale, which describes a literal round river in the middle of Wisconsin. In reality, there is no round river, but Leopold sees it as a metaphor for the environment, which is interconnected and composed of many different cyclical processes. The round river represents the circle of life, or the interconnected nature of ecosystems. It helps demonstrate how all parts of the natural world feed upon each other, and how damage to one part of the natural world can hurt others as well.
Round River Quotes in A Sand County Almanac
In our educational system, the biotic continuum is seldom pictured to us as a stream. From our tenderest years we are fed facts about the soils, floras, and faunas that comprise the channel of Round River (biology), and their origins in time (geology and evolution), and about the technique of exploiting them (agriculture and engineering). But the concept of a current with droughts and freshets, backwaters and bars, is left to inference. To learn the hydrology of the biotic stream we must think at right angles to evolution and examine the collective behavior of biotic materials. This calls for a reversal of specialization; instead of learning more and more about less and less, we must learn more and more about the whole biotic landscape.