so that within the design there is careful placement of various elements to
assist in the efficient use of resources. It has application in many areas from
the design of an office system to a farm design.
Its main aim or purpose is to create systems that are ecologically and
economically viable, which provide for their own needs, which do not pollute or
exploit, and which in the long term are totally sustainable
Permaculture requires the user of its design system to observe natural
systems, such as that found within a forest, and combine the wisdoms of traditional
methods with modern scientific and technological knowledge.
Its design approach on a farm uses the inherent qualities of plants and
animals in combination with the natural characteristics of landscapes and
structures to produce a life-supporting system.
A Permaculture farm design aims to produce more human and animal food
than is generally found in nature by creating a cultivated ecology.
Permaculture was developed in the 1970's by two Australians, Bill Mollison and
David Holmgren, as a response to pollution of the soil, water and air; the
increasing reduction of non-renewable resources; the continued loss of animal
and plant species; and exploitive and destructive economic systems.
By using knowledge of plant, animal and social systems, old wisdoms and
skills in combination with modern technology and ideas, permaculture was created.
Permaculture, unlike other modern agricultural systems, is closely tied in with
ecology because it studies the inter-relationships and the inter-dependence of
living things and their environment.
There are many definitions of permaculture. Earlier definitions talk about
permanence within agriculture while more recent definitions concentrate on
sustainable human settlements.
One definition taken from Bill Mollison and Rena Mia Slays's book Introduction
to Permaculture states:
"Permaculture is about designing sustainable human settlements.
It is a philosophy and an approach to land use which weaves together microclimate,
annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, water management, and human needs
into intricately connected productive communities."
The ethics of permaculture are: Care for the earth, Care for people, Distribute
surplus, Reduce consumption.