Permaculture design
Permaculture is an approach from the point of view of land management and philosophy that adopts the system of fruiting in the natural environment. It includes a set of design principles derived using whole system considerations. It uses these principles in areas such as reproductive agriculture, reconstruction and community resilience. Permaculture originally came from “sustainable agriculture” but was later “adjusted” by incorporating social factors as inspired by the “sustainable culture” of Masnobu Fukuoka.

Permaculture design is the world’s first system of conscious work design. It is a natural-resource-conserving design in which every aspect of a natural-resource system is viewed and designed as a gift to the people, ecosystems and communities that rely on it.

Due to increasingly rapid depletion of the Earth’s resources and natural-resource reserves and increasing pressure of a world population that has already expanded to 7 billion people in the past 50 years, many people have chosen to become permaculturists or have already been inspired and/or are now integrating permaculture into their practices.

According to Paul Beckwith, permaculture involves “twinning the whole natural-resource system into a living, interconnected whole.” Permaculture recognizes the diversity of life systems and the interdependencies among them.

Therefore, permaculture seeks to re-establish ecological balance through the sustainable management of crops, woodlands, wetlands, ponds, aquifers and hydrologic cycles.

Perennial crops such as peaches and beans can be grown in a permanent fashion. With proper farming techniques, they can grow in soil that is enriched with compost, composting, natural fertilizers, and rainwater. They can be grown in a soil that has good drainage, with organic manure or with compost. Once established, these crops do not require irrigation or pesticides.

Also, drip irrigation can allow farmers to develop not only more produce and plants, but fewer weeds and better control of soil erosion, contamination and water pollution. Crops can be watered by harvesting rain or water runoff.

Pesticides can be used when pesticides are approved for crop usage. In the rare instances when pesticides are needed for pest control, they should be used carefully and sustainably, so as to avoid the unintended consequences of pesticides destroying a natural-resource system.

Non-chemical systems of food production can be more economically and ecologically sustainable. Ecological systems can be maintained by methods of natural-resource management such as crop rotation and natural fertilizers.

Permaculture design is a principle; it doesn’t actually require natural resources to be put to use for sustainability. Each resource is put to use in a way that makes it the best choice for its resource function..

It looks at nature’s processes and describes how to manage our natural resources for healthy, abundant life for the benefit of all life on earth.

Projects need not be profitable to be successful.

The principles of permaculture design are based on taking care of our earth, the workers and the people. Permaculture design is not a business; it is an alternative ecosystem-centric design approach. Permaculture is about the future life-support system of life on earth.

Permaculture encourages consideration and adaptation of ecological principles and approaches to design the best possible life-support system for life.

There is also the project-based permaculture design approach, where a project is designed and built for specific reasons.

Permaculture Design Principles:

Regenerative: Roots keep food fresh and clean, take nutrients from what is uneaten and enhance water and nutrient flows to crop roots. New trees absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than trees that have been cut down.
Degradative: Clothes can be made from plants in drought-stricken regions. Fish breed faster in ponds with waterlogged soils. Plants can be raised as fast-growing, drought-tolerant crops that also are relatively inexpensive to plant. Old seeds stored in moist air can be grown into new food crops. Agricultural ecosystems can be buffered by more resilient crops and animals that will adjust to drought, excess water, disease, pests and pests.
Environmental: Plants are the most abundant source of foods for millions of animals and humans. At one meal of vegetables, animals consume some food directly, and also consume what other animals leave behind. Only animal protein is toxic. Animals pollinate plants and disperse seeds. Animals and crops recycle nutrients and also feed earth’s natural systems.
Ecological: Forests are natural reservoirs of environmental pollutants, such as arsenic and mercury. Biologists estimate that trees account for at least 90 percent of earth’s oxygen. Forests also preserve land from toxins and rainwater. When trees are cleared, soil erosion and drought reduce forests to empty, dirty landscapes. Even when healthy, forests are not self-sustaining, nor are ecosystems. At one meal of oil palm in Indonesia, animals consume oil-eating fungi and contaminate water sources. There is no simple solution to environmental problems, but the value of forests and ecosystems is obvious.
Systems: Forests are built to function within complex systems. Many plants share the same microbes in their roots that deliver nutrients to their crops. Plants generally improve soil by planting crops of crops that harvest nutrients and provide nutrients to plants. Complex ecosystems are integrated into ecosystems. While animals add nutrients to ecosystems, plants generally remove nutrients from ecosystems and convert them into food. They are ecosystem engineers that build and maintain soil and water systems.

It is important to first identify your overall design principles to create the right balance for your project and for your specific context.

Permaculture design principles provide the first design guide to follow. They are a starting point, and the process of constructing a project will necessarily evolve from a focus on the design principles to achieve sustainability. The three core principles of permaculture design are meant to act as guidelines for project design and ultimately life support systems.

Permaculture design principles are organized by the following principles:

Fundamental Design Principles

Resources – Permaculture design is all about the use of natural resources; it is about designing to use natural resources in a sustainable way. Resources are not used to the point of exhaustion; resources are used in a sustainable manner that preserves the integrity of our resources and the sustainability of the environment. This principle helps to make the resource consumption of our projects economically viable. Resources are not applied to the point of destruction; they are used to the extent that they will be sustained and appreciated. Resources are harvested or used to the full extent of their sustainability.

Life-Support System Principles

Fertilizer – When design is about developing a resource-intensive resource-driven life-support system, the use of fertilizer and other nutrients is important for a sustainable development. It helps to build the foundations of the system. This principle should act as a challenge for us. The use of fertilizer and other nutrients leads to the sustainable production of a resource-driven system.

Fertilizer is produced through conventional, non-agricultural practices. Fertilizer is sometimes used to create habitats to bring life-support systems into existence, and often used to produce sustainably harvested products. Fertilizers are created and used by normal agricultural practices.

Renewable Resources – It is possible to harvest resources that are not renewable by utilizing renewable resources in an ecologically-responsible way. The resources may be used to the fullest extent of their sustainability. Renewable resources are similar to renewable resources; they are renewable when processed into a renewable product that can be used as a resource to sustainably sustain life and the environment.

A non-agricultural renewable resource is a resource used by the land to sustain life and a growing environment; it is a resource that grows with time. A non-agricultural renewable resource may also be used to sustain life and a growing environment, but may not be harvested in perpetuity. It may only be used for a short period of time. These are renewable resources. Renewable resources may be non-renewable or renewable.

Resources are not consumed through processes that produce substitutes; this creates the system’s resources for sustainability. It also creates a productive framework within which life can develop. Designing our projects and reusing our resources will create long-term regenerative and sustainable systems that are resilient to challenges and fluctuations in our environment. It will reduce the amount of resources required by our systems to sustain life.

Resources used to maintain a resilient life-support system are available in different forms. Resources that have renewable energy potential, or have a regenerative or non-degradable energy potential, are valuable resources for our life-support systems.

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