The 12 Principles of Permaculture

David Holmgren has defined 12 Principles as a foundation for Permaculture design and monitoring. These principles can be split in two families of 6 each with a different typology, and each principle can be attached to a systemic structural object or an agro-ecologic systemic development process, which is described in this page.

6 Principles related to the design process in a systemic approach

Systemic Approach (11)

In this perspective the 6 Permaculture principles are defined in a way to guide the construction process or its monitoring through top/down and bottom/up design methodology.

The main 3 Phases impacting the development are : human objective of integration, design in an ecosystemic paradigm, monitor and simulate the model.

It applies to the landscape, the functions and the integration of the elements within the farm. These principles are typically an anthropomorphism of the best process practices found in the natural world. Each principle gives equal value to the forward and reverse engineering movement. The bottom / up movement is based on observation, conceptualization, inspiration from nature, critical vision of the solutions or the necessity for change. The top/down movement is based either on design enforcement, guidance, optimization, pragmatism and tuning.

This set of principles is related to the “Process of implementation”.

6 Principles related to the systemic structure of an ecosystem

Systemic Approach (10)

The systemic perspective in Permaculture emphasizes the necessity to respect what makes nature so resilient and efficient; It’s systemic constitution built on functions and interconnections. The main concepts referred to in these 6 principles of the systemic structure are;

– functions stack (or elements, or features stack, or subsystems)
– flows of resources or energy (or interactions, or trigger, or functional events)
– boundaries (or envelop, or edges, or interface, or ecotone …)

If you consider all of these 6 principles you realize that each of them qualifies a system descriptive objects.

The 12 Principles apply in the structure and the dynamism of an ecosystem in an agroecologic and sustainable perspective to reduce entropy, in other words give order to chaos, conserve energy and resources and produce yield.

The ethic dimension is mainly a projection of the 6 structural rules in a human perspective, e.g. value diversity means value human and cultural diversity, etc…


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