According to Aldo Leopold’s Life Ethic, every living organism is inherently valuable. In addition to this, the ecosystem services provided by a functioning ecology are extremely valuable and are expensive to reproduce from an engineering standpoint when measured monetarily or energetically.
Our goal at Permaculture Design International is to work with families, businesses and communities to enrich the bioregions they inhabit. The details of doing so at any scale from a small plot to a landscape can vary widely, but the pattern is similar everywhere. Only when we find the sweet spots that synergize ecosystem health and functionality with a high quality of life for the people who live there can we achieve a ‘permanent culture.’
We believe it is our duty as humans to give back more than we take, both to the diverse ecologies of the earth and to the future generations of people that will inherit the earth from us.
At PDI, Our priorities are to:
1. Preserve and conserve highly functional and sensitive natural systems
2. Actively restore degraded systems into either productive agricultural ecosystems or functional wild ecosystems
3. Create revenue streams for continued management of ecological systems so as to maintain functionality of ecosystem processes and services while providing community livelihoods
Restoration of Ecosystem Functionality to Agriculture
We embrace the biodiversity and productivity inherent in natural ecosystems which is why we model our cultivated ecologies and agricultural productions systems on these examples. We recognize that many natural systems are degraded and integrate the restoration of functionality of these systems as primary criteria for our designs. Not all land is appropriate to cultivate for agriculture but many areas can be actively improved by careful design and management to maintain the ecological services and values. If both the cultural and ecological context are appropriate, we encourage the design and management of economically productive ecosystems. These cultivated ecologies are designed and managed to be highly productive, resource generating ecosystems whose harvest is the basis of our societies’ resource supply chains. At the same time they must hold up to the test of ecosystem functionality and resilience to the locally specific climate conditions.
Supporting Native Ecology
Where consistent or periodic harvest and product conversion is not appropriate, we work to restore these areas as sanctuaries for native organisms and for recreational use such as camping, hiking, observation, and other activities. These systems can also be used as examples and inspiration for improving our resource producing systems to better mimic nature and as reserves of genetics and populations in case of large scale disturbance such as drought, fire, or a change in climate regimes. Our regenerative techniques allow us to bring degraded or damaged areas back to ecological function and health rapidly.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Our design and consulting process identifies these areas and assesses if they are functioning or degraded. After an assessment is completed, we provide design and consulting services to either maintain the integrity of functioning ecosystems or to actively restore the function and habitat value of degraded ecosystems. Depending on the context, we may recommend an active management approach even to functioning ecosystems. Our integrated training allows the client to continue to maintain and improve the site.
Examples of specific services we provide are:
Monitoring and assessment
Disturbance management: proscribed burning, rest, grazing, weed mgmt., flooding, etc.
Eco-tourism and recreational experiences (campgrounds, lodges, guided experiences, etc)
The Need For Management
All human actions have an effect on our surroundings and it is our goal to provide designs that recognize this and facilitate leaving a beneficial footprint from our actions while meeting the needs of local residents. The result of a high quality design is an improved capacity for a family, business or community to manage the ecosystems where they reside for a high degree of health and resilience in perpetuity.