Hello Russ Grayson.
At the moment I'm doing an MSc. in Environmental Forestry at
Bangor University, North Wales (UK). I'm doing my dissertation on
homegardens of tropical areas and forest gardens of temperate regions. To
explain briefly: Tropical homegardens are an agroforestry practice
whereby an area (of around 0.5 ha) around the house is planted up with
useful (usually multi-purpose) trees, shrubs, herbs and climbers and are
arranged in 3-5 vertical strata in a way that makes optimal use of light
and space. It's a sustainable, ecologically sound system that provides
fruit, vegetables, medicines, spices, fuel wood, timber and virtually every
thing that subsistence requires. Staple foods are grown in fields around
the homestead. Animals are usually part of the system, there are nearly
always poultry of some sort and often goats/cattle etc penned near the
house. Sounds like permaculture doesn't it? although these have been used
for hundreds if not thousands of years - long before the word permaculture
was created by Bill Mollison! It's thought that it evolved as a practice
when population pressure got too high to allow a sufficiently long fallow
period in shifting agriculture/bush fallow systems to maintain soil
fertility. As far as temperate forest gardening goes it's a relatively
new concept, pioneered in Britain by Robert Hart. Interest is mainly from
the permaculture movement as it's not a system suitable to mechanisation,
although it is flexible to various degrees of commercialisation.
So that's what I'm doing upto the end of September. I really
need to get my scates on as I've got to write around 20,000 words and do
a design for a new forest garden which will be made at our University
What is the focus of your interest in permaculture? I do like
getting the e-mails from the mailing list and find it reassuring that
there are people all over the world with similar views and who are
actually doing it.
Best wishes - Sarah (Gowland).