Permaculture is a set of design principles centered around whole systems thinking simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. It uses these principles in a growing number of fields from regenerative agriculture, rewilding and organizational design and development. With its system of applied education and citizen-led design permaculture has grown a popular web of global networks and developed into a global social movement; the term permaculture was developed and coined by David Holmgren a graduate student at the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education's Department of Environmental Design, Bill Mollison, senior lecturer in Environmental Psychology at University of Tasmania, in 1978. The word permaculture referred to "permanent agriculture", but was expanded to stand for "permanent culture", as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy, it has many branches that include, but are not limited to, ecological design, ecological engineering, regenerative design, environmental design, construction.
Permaculture includes integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modelled from natural ecosystems. Mollison has said: "Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature, they include: Observe and Interact and Store Energy, Obtain a Yield, Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback and Value Renewable Resources and Services, Produce No Waste, Design From Patterns to Details, Integrate Rather Than Segregate, Use Small and Slow Solutions and Value Diversity, Use Edges and Value the Marginal, Creatively Use and Respond to Change. Several individuals revolutionized the branch of permaculture. In 1929, Joseph Russell Smith added an antecedent term as the subtitle for Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture, a book which sums up his long experience experimenting with fruits and nuts as crops for human food and animal feed. Smith saw the world as an inter-related whole and suggested mixed systems of trees and crops underneath.
This book inspired many individuals intent on making agriculture more sustainable, such as Toyohiko Kagawa who pioneered forest farming in Japan in the 1930s. In Australian P. A. Yeomans' 1964 book Water for Every Farm, he supports the definition of permanent agriculture, as one that can be sustained indefinitely. Yeomans introduced both an observation-based approach to land use in Australia in the 1940s and the Keyline Design as a way of managing the supply and distribution of water in the 1950s. Holmgren noted Stewart Brand’s works as an early influence to permaculture. Other early influences include Ruth Stout and Esther Deans, who pioneered no-dig gardening, Masanobu Fukuoka who, in the late 1930s in Japan, began advocating no-till orchards and gardens and natural farming. In the late 1960s, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren started developing ideas about stable agricultural systems on the southern Australian island state of Tasmania. Dangers of the growing use of industrial-agricultural methods sparked these ideas.
In their view, these methods were dependent on non-renewable resources, were additionally poisoning land and water, reducing biodiversity, removing billions of tons of topsoil from fertile landscapes. They responded with a design approach called permaculture; this term was first made public with their publication of their 1978 book Permaculture One. Among some of the more recognizable names who received their original training within Mollison's PDC system would include Geoff Lawton and Toby Hemenway, each of whom have more than 25 years experience teaching and promoting permaculture as a sustainable way of growing food. Simon J Fjell was a Founding Director of the Permaculture Institute in late 1979 and a teacher of the first Permaculture Design Course, having first met Mollison in 1976, he has since worked internationally and is listing a major social enterprise on NASDAQ. By the early 1980s, the concept had broadened from agricultural systems design towards sustainable human habitats. After Permaculture One, Mollison further refined and developed the ideas by designing hundreds of permaculture sites and writing more detailed books, such as Permaculture: A Designers Manual.
Mollison lectured in over 80 countries and taught his two-week Permaculture Design Course to hundreds of students. Mollison "encouraged graduates to become teachers themselves and set up their own institutes and demonstration sites; this multiplier effect was critical to permaculture’s rapid expansion."The permaculture movement spread throughout Asia and Central America, with Hong Kong-based Asian Institute of Sustainable Architecture, Rony Lec leading the foundation of the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute in Guatemala and Juan Rojas co-founding the Permaculture Institute of El Salvador. The three core tenets of permaculture are: Care for the earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply; this is the first principle. Care for the people: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence Fair share: By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles; this includes re
The Permaculture Association is a registered charity that promotes the theory and practice of permaculture in Britain and worldwide. The charity is based at offices in Kirkstall, England, but connects a diverse network of individuals and projects, with over 1,400 members and over 100 demonstration sites. There are regional networks: Paramaethu Cymru; the Permaculture Association was established as a charity on 8 February 1983 and is registered in England and Scotland. In Autumn 1982 a four day introduction to permaculture course was run in Blencarn, by Max Lindegger of Permaculture Nambour; the Permaculture Association offers its members a range of services including discounts for events, opportunities to network and support of projects and a telephone helpline. It "keeps a database listing hundreds of grassroots projects and educational organisations offering practical advice." It certifies Permaculture Design Courses in the UK and runs a diploma in Applied Permaculture DesignThe organisation was a partner in the Local Food consortium of the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme.
The Permaculture Association supports international projects such as the Permaculture Institute of El Salvador and the Himalayan Permaculture Institute. The Permaculture Association hosted the International Permaculture Convergence, London 2015. Research - Permaculture International Research Network, Information For Action on Climate Change, Research Digest. Events - The Permaculture Association will have a stall at the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2018; the national convergence will next take place in September 2018. The Permaculture Association organises a biennial national gathering of members, known as a convergence. Permaculture Scotland and Paramaethu Cymru have held gatherings of their own annually since 2014. Members typically organise regional and more local gatherings. Permaculture Transition Towns Plants for a Future Rob Hopkins Patrick Whitefield Official website Local Food Website Permanent Publications Website
Raised-bed gardening is a form of gardening in which the soil is formed in three-to-four-foot-wide beds, which can be of any length or shape. The soil is raised above the surrounding soil, is sometimes enclosed by a frame made of wood, rock, or concrete blocks, may be enriched with compost; the vegetable plants are spaced in geometric patterns, much closer together than in conventional row gardening. The spacing is such that when the vegetables are grown, their leaves just touch each other, creating a microclimate in which weed growth is suppressed and moisture is conserved. Raised beds produce a variety of benefits: they extend the planting season, they can reduce weeds if designed and planted properly, they reduce the need to use poor native soil. Since the gardener does not walk on the raised beds, the soil is not compacted and the roots have an easier time growing; the close plant spacing and the use of compost result in higher yields with raised beds in comparison to conventional row gardening.
Waist-high raised beds enable the elderly and physically disabled to grow vegetables without having to bend over to tend them. Raised beds lend themselves to the development of complex agriculture systems that utilize many of the principles and methods of permaculture, they can be used to control erosion and recycle and conserve water and nutrients by building them along contour lines on slopes. This makes more space available for intensive crop production, they can be created over large areas with the use of several available tractor-drawn implements and efficiently maintained and harvested using hand tools. This form of gardening is compatible with square foot companion planting. Circular raised; the center has a chimney of sorts built with sticks and lined with feedbags or grasses that allows water placed at the center to flow out into the soil and reach the plants' roots. Vegetable garden bed construction materials should be chosen carefully; some concerns exist regarding the use of pressure-treated timber.
Pine, treated using chromated copper arsenate or CCA, a toxic chemical mix for preserving timber that may leach chemicals into the soil which in turn can be drawn up into the plants, is a concern for vegetable growers, where part or all of the plant is eaten. If using timber to raise the garden bed, ensure that it is an untreated hardwood to prevent the risk of chemicals leaching into the soil. A common approach is to use timber sleepers joined with steel rods to hold them together. Another approach is to use concrete blocks, although less aesthetically pleasing, they are inexpensive to source and easy to use. On the market are prefab raised garden bed solutions which are made from long lasting polyethylene, UV stabilized and food grade so it will not leach undesirable chemicals into the soil or deteriorate in the elements. A double skinned wall provides an air pocket of insulation that minimizes the temperature fluctuations and drying out of the soil in the garden bed. Sometimes raised bed gardens are covered with clear plastic to protect the crops from wind and strong rains.
Pre-manufactured raised bed gardening boxes exist. There are variants of wood, metal and plastic; each material type has disadvantages. Kitchen garden Therapeutic garden Hügelkultur: another type of raised bed Waru Waru – A traditional Quechua, pre-Inca system involving raised beds Square foot gardening Bird, Christopher. Cubed Foot Gardening: Growing Vegetables in Raised, Intensive Beds. Lyons Press. Retrieved March 2, 2012. ISBN 1-58574-312-7 Linhart, Rita & Richardson, Antoinette. "Raised Bed Gardening - low cost, high yield and done". Books on Demand. Retrieved March 14, 2012. ISBN 978-3-8370-1841-7 The Synergistic Garden—A video by Emilia Hazelip, which provides practical information on how to garden with raised beds. Appeal: Keyhole gardening saves lives in world's most eroded land
Polyculture is a form of agriculture in which more than one species is grown at the same time and place in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems. Polyculture is the opposite of monoculture, in which only members of one plant or animal species are cultivated together. Polyculture has traditionally been the most prevalent form of agriculture in most parts of the world and is growing in popularity today due to its environmental and health benefits. There are many types of polyculture including annual polycultures such as intercropping and cover cropping and integrated aquaculture. Polyculture is advantageous because of its ability to control pests and disease without major chemical inputs; as such, polyculture is considered a sustainable form of agriculture. However, issues with crop yield and biological competition have caused many modern major industrial food producers to continue to rely on monoculture instead. Polyculture has traditionally been the most prevalent form of agriculture.
A well-known example of historic polyculture is the intercropping of maize and squash plants in a group referred to as "the three sisters". In this combination, the maize provides a structure for the bean to grow on, the bean provides nitrogen for all of the plants, while the squash suppresses weeds on the ground; this crop mixture can be traced back several thousand years ago to civilizations in Latin America and Africa and is representative of how species in polycultures sustain each other and minimize the need for human intervention. Integrated aquaculture, or the growing of seafood and plants together, has been common in parts of Eastern Asia for several thousand years as well. In China and Japan, for example and shrimp have been grown in ponds with rice and seaweed. Other countries where polyculture has traditionally been a substantial part of agricultural and continues to be so today include those in the Himalayan region, Eastern Asia, South America, Africa; because of the development of pesticides and fertilizers, monoculture became the predominant form of agriculture in the 1950's.
The prevalence of polyculture declined in popularity at that time in more economically developed countries where it was deemed to produce less yield while requiring more labor. Polyculture farming has not disappeared though as traditional polyculture systems continue to be an essential part of the food production system today. Around 15% to 20% of the world’s agriculture is estimated as relying on traditional polyculture systems; the majority of Latin American farmers continue to intercrop their maize and squash. Due to climate change, polyculture is returning in popularity in more developed countries as well as food producers seek to reduce their environmental and health impacts; the kinds of plants that are grown, their spatial distribution, the time that they spend growing together determines the specific type of polyculture, implemented. There is no limit for the types of plants or animals that can be grown together to form a polyculture; the time overlaps between plants can be asymmetrical as well, with one plant depending on the other for longer than is reciprocated due to differences in life spans.
When more than two crops are grown in complete spatial and temporal overlap with each other, it is referred to as intercropping. Intercropping is useful in plots with limited land availability. Legumes are one of the most intercropped crops legume-cereal mixtures. Legumes fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil so that it is available for consumption by other plants in a process known as nitrogen fixation; the presence of legumes eliminates the need for man-made nitrogen fertilizers in intercrops. When a crop is grown alongside another plant, not a crop, the combination is referred to as cover cropping. If the non-crop plant is a weed, the combination is called a weedy culture. Grasses and legumes are the most common cover crops. Cover crops are beneficial as they can help prevent soil erosion, physically suppress weeds, improve surface water retention, and, in the case of legumes, provide nitrogen compounds as well. Strip cropping is a form of polyculture. While strip cropping does not involve the complete intermixing of plant species, it still provides many of the same benefits such as preventing soil erosion and aiding with nutrient cycling.
Polycultures of perennial plants are referred to as permacultures. Legume-grass mixtures and wildflower mixtures are both common forms of permaculture that are popular in Europe or more temperate climates. Permacultures most notably increase soil fertility through nitrogen fixation, decrease soil erosion, regulate water consumption, decrease the need for tillage thereby conserving soil nutrients. Permacultures require less human intervention than other forms of polyculture because of lower harvest and tillage rates. In many Latin American countries, agroforestry is a popular form of permaculture as well where trees and crops are grown together. Trees provide shade for the crops alongside organic matter and nutrients when they shed their leaves or fruits; the elaborate root systems of trees help prevent soil erosion and increase the presence of microbes in the soil. In addition to benefiting crops, trees act as commodities themselves for use in paper, firewood, etc. Growing coffee plants alongside other tree species in Mexico is a common practice of agroforestry.
Coffee is a shade-loving crop, is traditionally shade-grown. In India, it is grown under a natural forest canopy, replacing the shrub layer. A different polyculture system is used for coffee in Mexico, where the Coffea bushes are grown un
Agroecology is the study of ecological processes applied to agricultural production systems. Bringing ecological principles to bear in agroecosystems can suggest novel management approaches that would not otherwise be considered; the term is used imprecisely and may refer to "a science, a movement, a practice". Agroecologists study a variety of agroecosystems; the field of agroecology is not associated with any one particular method of farming, whether it be organic, integrated, or conventional, intensive or extensive. However, it has much more in common with integrated farming. Agroecologists do not unanimously oppose technology or inputs in agriculture but instead assess how, if technology can be used in conjunction with natural and human assets. Agroecology proposes a context- or site-specific manner of studying agroecosystems, as such, it recognizes that there is no universal formula or recipe for the success and maximum well-being of an agroecosystem. Thus, agroecology is not defined by certain management practices, such as the use of natural enemies in place of insecticides, or polyculture in place of monoculture.
Instead, agroecologists may study questions related to the four system properties of agroecosystems: productivity, stability and equitability. As opposed to disciplines that are concerned with only one or some of these properties, agroecologists see all four properties as interconnected and integral to the success of an agroecosystem. Recognizing that these properties are found on varying spatial scales, agroecologists do not limit themselves to the study of agroecosystems at any one scale: gene-organism-population-community-ecosystem-landscape-biome, field-farm-community-region-state-country-continent-global. Agroecologists study these four properties through an interdisciplinary lens, using natural sciences to understand elements of agroecosystems such as soil properties and plant-insect interactions, as well as using social sciences to understand the effects of farming practices on rural communities, economic constraints to developing new production methods, or cultural factors determining farming practices.
Agroecologists do not always agree about what agroecology should be in the long-term. Different definitions of the term agroecology can be distinguished by the specificity with which one defines the term "ecology", as well as the term's potential political connotations. Definitions of agroecology, may be first grouped according to the specific contexts within which they situate agriculture. Agroecology is defined by the OECD as "the study of the relation of agricultural crops and environment." This definition refers to the "-ecology" part of "agroecology" narrowly as the natural environment. Following this definition, an agroecologist would study agriculture's various relationships with soil health, water quality, air quality, meso- and micro-fauna, surrounding flora, environmental toxins, other environmental contexts. A more common definition of the word can be taken from Dalgaard et al. who refer to agroecology as the study of the interactions between plants, animals and the environment within agricultural systems.
Agroecology is inherently multidisciplinary, including factors from agronomy, sociology and related disciplines. In this case, the "-ecology" portion of "agroecology is defined broadly to include social and economic contexts as well. Francis et al. expand the definition in the same way, but put more emphasis on the notion of food systems. Agroecology is defined differently according to geographic location. In the global south, the term carries overtly political connotations; such political definitions of the term ascribe to it the goals of social and economic justice. North American and European uses of the term sometimes avoid the inclusion of such overtly political goals. In these cases, agroecology is seen more as a scientific discipline with less specific social goals; this approach is derived from the science of ecology based on population ecology, which over the past three decades has been displacing the ecosystems biology of Odum. Buttel explains the main difference between the two categories, saying that "the application of population ecology to agroecology involves the primacy not only of analyzing agroecosystems from the perspective of the population dynamics of their constituent species, their relationships to climate and biogeochemistry, but there is a major emphasis placed on the role of genetics."
This concept was proposed by political ecologist Josep Garí to recognise and uphold the integrated agro-ecological practices of many indigenous peoples and sustainably safeguard and use ecosystems for agricultural, food and cultural purposes at the same time. Indigenous agroecologies are not systems and practices halted in time, but keep co-evolving with new knowledge and resources, such as that provided by development projects, research initiatives and agro-biodiversity exchanges. In fact, the first agro-ecologists were indigenous peoples that advocated development policies and programmes to support their systems, rather than replacing them. Rather than viewing agroecology as a subset of agriculture, Wojtkowski takes a more encompassing perspective. In this, natural ecology and agroecology are the major headings under ecology. Natural ecology is the study of organisms as they interact within natural environments. Correspondingly, agroecology is the basis for the land-use sciences. Here humans are the primary governing force for organisms within planned and managed terrestrial, enviro
See Planetary ecosynthesis for Terraforming Ecosynthesis is the use of introduced species to fill niches in a disrupted environment, with the aim of increasing the speed of ecological restoration. This decreases the amount of physical damage done in a disrupted landscape. An example is using willow in a stream corridor for phosphorus capture, it aims to aid ecological restoration which, is the practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats in the environment by active human intervention and action. Humans ecosynthesis to make environments more suitable for life, through restoration ecology A controversial science of applying ecosynthesis to other planets to make them habitable like Earth; this is a futuristic science that has no hold on society today due to its large manufacturing costs and level of technology available. Ecological restoration aims to recreate, initiate, or accelerate the recovery of an ecosystem, disturbed. Revegetation: the establishment of vegetation on sites where it has been lost with erosion control as the primary goal.
Habitat enhancement: the process of increasing the suitability of a site as habitat for some desired species. Remediation: improving an existing ecosystem or creating a new one with the aim of replacing another that has deteriorated or been destroyed. Mitigation: mandated remediation for loss of protected species or an ecosystem. Through restoration ecology humans can help ecosystems that we have either caused harm to or disturbed be brought back to functional state. A clear example of humans ecosynthesiszing would be through the introduction of a species to cause a trophic cascade, the result of indirect effects between nonadjacent trophic levels in a food chain or food web, such as the top predator in a food chain and a plant; the most famous example of a trophic cascade is that of the introduction of wolves to YellowStone National Park, which had extradionary effects to the ecosystem. Yellowstone National Park had a massive population of elk because they had no predators, which caused the local aspen population and other vegetation to decrease in population size.
However, the introduction of wolves controlled the elk population and indirectly affected the aspen and other vegetation. This brought the ecosystem back to a sustainable life. Ecopoiesis Restoration Ecology Trophic Cascade