Gerhard has a National Diploma in Forestry from the Technicon of Port Elizabeth, and a master’s degree (MSc – cum laude) in Aquatic Health from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His MSc thesis was on “The Influence of run-off from road networks on aquatic macro-invertebrates in Mamatole commercial tree plantation (Komatiland Forests), Upper Letsitele Catchment, Limpopo Province, South Africa”. He worked as a forester for SAFCOL for two years (1992-1994) and as assistant environmental manager in the same company for three years (1995-1998). During this period, he drew up conservation management plans, conducted internal environmental audits, environmental impact assessments, as well as provided and assisted with the planning and implementation of the forest industries environmental management guidelines.
Gerhard became an independent environmental consultant in 1998, implementing a water biomonitoring programme for the larger companies in the forest industry. He has more than 23 years’ experience in the biomonitoring of aquatic systems, specializing in the monitoring of aquatic macro-invertebrates as indicators of ecosystem health. He also has experience in biotic indexes using fish, diatoms, dragon- and damselflies, riparian vegetation, and geomorphology, and knowledge in hydrology (flow) and water chemistry. He has implemented and applied biomonitoring work in streams and rivers in South Africa (Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo provinces), Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, DRC, Congo-Brazzaville, Angola and Uganda. Gerhard is also actively involved in assessing the distribution of Odonata (dragon- and damselflies), both adults and larvae, and contributes data to the National and African Odonata Database.