Animal Forage, Bird Life, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Livestock, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees — by Nicollas Mauro January 20, 2012
Design science is at the root of any definition of permaculture or put simply, permaculture is design science. — Bill Mollison
Permaculture is a design/holistic/integrative science, whereas the mainstream/academic science is reductionist — that is, to understand how things work, scientists break a system and study the tiny parts.
Nevertheless, permaculture can benefit from reductionist science, to find relevant knowledge and new design ideas, but above all to gain some academic arguments to demonstrate the validity and legitimacy of its principles and techniques.
This is an article which shows some of the links I’ve found between scientific articles published in national and international journals, while searching facts and numbers to help me design my property. During the process, some ideas just popped, so I included them to make the article a “live performance” of the usefulness of lurking in the scientific jungle sometimes.Comments (10)
Animal Forage, Land, Livestock, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Trees — by Nicollas Mauro August 10, 2011
On permaculture, vegetarianism, grasses and tree fetishism
Cow on Zaytuna Farm
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
Meat and livestock farming are not praised by a lot of environmental activists. Meat production stands accused of stealing food from the mouths of the poor in two-thirds world countries, driving climate change, and being resource consuming. For example, the famous UK activist George Monbiot, published many times on this site, wrote in 2002 that “[veganism i]s the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue”(1), before retracting this in 2010, saying “I was wrong about veganism. Let them eat meat – but farm it properly”(2).
What happened between those two articles? Well, Monbiot read a book written by livestock farmer and UK permaculturist Simon Fairlie in 2010, whose title is “Meat – a benign extravagance”(3). It’s a very well written book that also debunks quite a few myths about vegan arguments (e.g. that much of the water consumed by animals is from rainfall on grasses used to make the hay, or that if the world suddenly become vegan, no more proteins would be available(4)).Comments (23)
Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Structure — by Nicollas Mauro July 14, 2011
Observation is a key element of permaculture design, and plants can help us to understand the landscape under our feet.
Indicator plants are plants that grow in such a density that their success in out-competing other plants can tell us a lot about the soil and microclimate they grow in. Several means can be used to link a plant with a bio-indication: primary ecological range, ecological niche, characteristics (physical , chemical, etc.).Comments (9)
Plant Systems — by Nicollas Mauro June 9, 2011
A central point of permaculture is to cooperate with nature, rather than fighting against it. But what does that mean exactly? And how to define what “nature” is?
Life began some billions years ago. Since that time, life’s goals seems to survive and perpetuate itself, either at the gene or whole-earth levels (respectively, the Selfish Gene Hypothesis by Dawkins, or the Gaia Hypothesis by Lovelock), or whatever in-between. To achieve these goals, living entities have had to: devise strategies to catch and store energy, water and nutrients; escape predators and parasites; reproduce.Comments (4)