Land tenure and community governance

Land tenure and community governance is an aspect of permaculture which is vitally important, but generally remains unseen. For this reason it is often referred to as part of 'invisible structures'. We need to ensure that the physical systems we create are able to be maintained and developed long into the future.

Approaches to eradicating poverty and sustainable use of the environment depend in large on how people, communities and others gain access to land, fisheries and forest. How people gain access to land is defined and regulated by societies through systems of tenure, which determine who can use  which resources for how long, and under what conditions. Systems may be based on written laws and policies as well as traditional unwritten customs and practices. Tenure systems face increasing stress as the world's populations grow; creating challenges to addressing food security, environmental degradation and climate change. Permaculture seeks to address the challenges ahead by creating physical systems that can be maintained and developed for many years to come. Focus areas include: group work (e.g. transition initiates, meeting methods and techniques,facilitation,  conflict resolution and consensus making), legal structures (e.g. cooperatives and development trusts), housing (e.g. housing trusts, co-housing and eco-villages) and land holding & land access (e.g. land trusts, Usufruct and land share schemes).

In this category...

Group work

For most of us, our best experiences of permaculture have been enjoyed with other people, whether as a members of a cooperative, class, convergence, business, online group, local association, or casual get together.


Permaculture isn't just about creating good food, it is also about creating a good place to live.

Land holding

Before you can create the farm, garden, woodland or house of your dreams, you need to get some land. Perhaps you will buy it yourself, rent it, borrow it, or share ownership with others.

Legal structures

A host of legal structures are available to permaculture practitioners who want to formalise their relationship with their work, their property and/or each other. This section explains some of the most useful and widely adopted.