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Permaculture for Agroecology: Design, Practice, Movement, and Worldview. A Review

Ferguson, Rafter Sass and Lovell, Sarah Taylor (2013) Permaculture for Agroecology: Design, Practice, Movement, and Worldview. A Review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, NA, NA. [In Press]

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Document available online at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13593-013-0181-6


Agroecology is a promising alternative to industrial agriculture, with the potential to avoid the negative social and ecological consequences of input-intensive production. Transitioning to agroecological production is, however, a complex project that requires diverse contributions from outside of scientific institutions. Agroecologists therefore collaborate with tradtional producers and agroecological movements. Permaculture is one such agroecological movement, with a broad international distribution and a unique approach to system design. Despite a high public profile, permaculture has remained relatively isolated from scientific research. Though the potential contribution of permaculture to agroecological transition is great, it is limited by this isolation from science, as well as from oversimplifying claims, and the lack of a clear definition. Here we review scientific and popular permaculture literature. A systematic review discusses quantitative bibliometric data, including keyword analysis. A qualitative review identifies and asseses major themes, proposals and claims. The manuscript follows a stratified definition of permaculture as design system, best practice framework, worldview, and movement. The major points of our analysis are: 1) principles and topics largely complement and even extend principles and topics found in the agroecological literature. 2) Distinctive approaches to perennial polyculture, water management, and the importance of agroecosystem configuration, exceed what is documented in the scientific literature, and thus suggest promising avenues of inquiry. 3) Discussions of practice consistently underplay the complexity, challenges, and risks that producers face in developing diversified and integrated production systems. 4) The movement is mobilizing diverse forms of social support for sustainabililty, in geographically diverse locations. 5) Scholarship in permaculture has always been a diverse marginal sector, but is growing.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:permaculture / farm design / perennial polyculture / agroecological transition / diversified farming systems / agroecological movement
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems
Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Values, standards and certification > Assessment of impacts and risks
Food systems > Recycling, balancing and resource management
Farming Systems > Social aspects
Environmental aspects
Knowledge management
Research affiliation:USA > Other organizations
ISSN:1774-0746 (Print) 1773-0155 (Online)
Related Links:http://liberationecogy.org
Deposited By: Ferguson, Rafter Sass
ID Code:24104
Deposited On:06 Jan 2016 11:08
Last Modified:06 Jan 2016 11:08
Document Language:English
Status:In Press
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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