The Principles of Permaculture

The Principles of Permaculture were originally set out in Bill Mollison’s and Reny Mia Slay’s Introduction to Permaculture and have been variously re-interpreted and restated in many permaculture publications since. They are:

  • Relative location. Each element performs many functions. Each important function is supported by many elements.
  • Efficient energy planning: zone, sector and slope.Using biological resources.
  • Cycling of energy, nutrients, resources.
  • Small-scale intensive systems; including plant stacking and time stacking.
  • Accelerating succession and evolution.
  • Diversity; including guilds.
  • Edge effects.
  • Attitudinal principles: everything works both ways, and permaculture is information and imagination-intensive

Subsequently David Holmgren has provided an alternative and complementary set of Permaculture Design Principles in his major work Permaculture, Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability. They are:

  • Observe and Interact
  • Catch and Store Energy
  • Obtain a Yield
  • Apply Self-regulation and Accept Feedback
  • Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services
  • Produce No Waste
  • Design from Patterns to Details
  • Integrate Rather than Segregate
  • Use Small and Slow Solutions
  • Use and Value Diversity
  • Use Edges and Value the Marginal
  • Creatively Use and Respond to Change