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"A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam."
- Frederik Pohl

Zoo Fences  
  Caustic water moat  

This is a great extension on a clever idea. Moats are used in zoos to keep animals who fear the water separate from visitors without an intrusive fence. If the liquid was caustic, you could probably use it even with animals who ordinarily felt no fear of water.

In the park outside the headquarters of Jorj McKie (one of the main characters), caustic water was used to fence in some of the plant life showcased in the park.

There were bold stretches of lawn and hidden scraps of lawn, and some stretches of greenery which were not lawn at all but mobile sheets of predatory leaf imprisoned behind thin moats of caustic water.
From The Dosadi Experiment, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Berkley Putnam in 1977
Additional resources -

The city of Chu (the only habitable city on the surface of Dosadi) was also surrounded by rivers, which doubled as moats to keep out the feral population outside. The Dosadis themselves used "caustic" language to keep themselves isolated socially, since any sort of sincere tie with another person was only a tool that could be used against you by the unscrupulous.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Dosadi Experiment
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to The Dosadi Experiment
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

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