Permaculture & Agroforestry
The word permaculture is derived from „permanent (agri)culture“ and stands for a sustainable way of life and land use that focuses on the precise observation of natural ecosystems and simulating, or directly utilizing their patterns and resilient features. It does not only aim to reduce or replace energy-intensive and environmentally harmful industrial technologies, especially in agriculture but also to regain and conserve soil fertility, diversity to create independent, resilient and fairly distributed living spaces that will yield harvests on long term scale without chemical herbicides and pesticides. In order to provide a healthy environment over generations permaculture proposes pragmatic methodological principles based on scientific ecology, traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, observation and experimentation. Those systems, or also called elements, can be used combined or solitary but always include closed material cycles, self-sustaining, stable ecosystems, that are planned for long term use requiring minimal human intervention. “Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.” (Bill Morrison, main founder of the permaculture philosophy).
Agroforestry is a specific method in the permaculture aspect that focuses on growing crops beneath trees and scrubs or defining pasturelands in between trees. It functions as a combination of agriculture and forestry and results in benefits in yields of stable food crops as well as enhanced farmer livelihoods from income generation, increased biodiversity, improved soil structure and health, reduced erosion, and carbon sequestration. Agroforestry is considered to be a highly beneficial practise in tropical areas around the world. It combines the natural and physical benefit of the trees for the crops, such as shadow, nutritions and protecting top soil and water availability. Planning and purpose makes agroforestry a highly diverse and beneficial sustainable method that can be applied to various purposes but always assuring a non-exploiting effect on the surrounding natural ecosystems.They can offer increased productivity; social, economic and environmental benefits, as well as greater diversity in the ecological goods and services provided. (“Benefits of agroforestry”. Agroforestry Research Trust [in England]. Archived from the original on 20 April 2015.)