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Posted: Jan 13 2012, 01:12 PM
Member No.: 246
Joined: 13-January 12
I would like to introduce myself, I am Marco a 26 years old student from Italy. I am currently enrolled in Napier University, doing an Ecotourism degree. In the course of my studies I have become interested in Permaculture design. This interest pusher me to a fantastic opportunity to work as a WWOOFing volunteer on two different permaculture farms in La Palma Island, Canary Islands. The principles of Permaculture fascinate me and would be eager to pursue and explore it further in my final year research project.
My dissertation proposal is to explore, the constraints that prevent permaculture design systems to become a large-scale agriculture systems. I would like to base my primary findings by collecting qualitative data from farmers however I am open to dialogue with organisations themselves involved in permaculture.
However, prior to embarking on this research, I need to prove that productivity of permaculture design systems is higher and/or more sustainable compared with monocultures of intensive farming systems (I need to demonstrate scientifically that one produces more yield than the other). This is where I turn for your help. I have been struggling to find reliable scientific journals that demonstrate the fact that one type of farming produces more than the other. Do you have any good journals I could explore or links on that could direct me to journals on the subject or even any previous research that has been carried out?. I would greatly appreciate your help and your gestures will give me the strength to continue to carry out this ‘worthwhile research.’
Any other suggestions or tips are more than welcome.
Many thanks in advance
Posted: Jan 19 2012, 03:45 AM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 10-August 10
Hi Marco and welcome to the forum. It sounds like you've already begun your Permaculture journey in earnest, the Canary Islands must be a nice spot to do some wwoofing I'd say.
Your dissertation proposal is certainly an interesting one. As Permaculture systems are by their very nature small scale, mimicking natural systems means appropriate development, which would generally rule out any type of large agriculture.
Perhaps the only way to bring Permaculture techniques and systems to the wider global population is to encourage them to undertake the work themselves at home and in their local communities.
Albert Einstein said: “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”
Large scale agriculture really is the same level of thinking. The solution to a great many of our problems as a species is to reduce the scale and increase the efficiency of all of our human activities, most especially agriculture.
Despite the above, there is an ever growing body of Permaculture related work from around the world that clearly shows that polycultural, perennial, Permaculture systems provide a far greater yield per square metre than their monocultural counterparts.
I've always found the two ways of producing an egg from Permaculture A Designers' Manual show succinctly why Permaculture not only produces a more efficient yield but actually improves the environment (rather than degrading it) in the process.
In terms of research papers, here's a link to a PDF from the RAND corporation about Perennial Polyculture Farming, its not strictly about Permaculture but employs many of the same methodologies. Good luck with it all, if I can find anything else I'll post it up for you.