Permaculture is a branch of ecological design and ecological engineering which develops sustainable human settlements and self-maintained agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.
The core tenets of permaculture are:
Care of the Earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply.
Care of People: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
Setting Limits to Population and Consumption: By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles.
Permaculture design emphasizes patterns of landscape, function, and species assemblies. It asks the question, “Where does this element go? How can it be placed for the maximum benefit of the system?” To answer this question, the central concept of permaculture is maximizing useful connections between components and synergy of the final design. The focus of permaculture, therefore, is not on each separate element, but rather on the relationships created among elements by the way they are placed together; the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts.
Common permaculture practices include the use of agroforestry, natural building, rainwater harvesting, and sheet mulching.