Principles from "Introduction to Permaculture" by Bill Mollison & Reny Mia Slay

Stated in "Introduction to Permaculture" by Bill Mollison & Reny Mia Slay

Windowsill herbs

Relative Location

Relative location refers to how permaculture forms a relationship between the elements, to ensure all factors are used efficiently.


Each element performs many functions

By carefully selecting elements that compliment each other, it is possible to ensure elements can peform multiple functions. For example; "A dam wall functions as a road, a firebreak and a bamboo production area." Mollison and Slay.


Each important function is supported by many elements

Permaculture design allows for elements to support eachother. 'A house with a solar hot water system may also contain a back-up wood burning stove with a water jacket to supply hot water when the sun is not shining.' Mollison and Slay.

relative location zones

Efficient energy planning: zone, sector and slope

When designing your plan, zones are a key consideration due to being time and energy efficient. The idea of energy planning is to identify what areas require the most attention and to then plan your time accordingly.


Using biological resources

Permaculture promotes the use of biological resources as a replacement for fossil-fuel based systems. Long term, biological resources can be a long term investment, enabling sustainability for the land.

compost nutrient cycling

Cycling of energy, nutrients, resources

Energy Cycles are a fundamental principle in permaculture. Market led food production is an unsustainable system advocating the use of fossil fuels. Permaculture food production reduces the need for marketing, sales and distribution costs.


Small-scale intensive systems; including plant stacking and time stacking

Small scale intensive systems promotes production through community labour forces. Small scale systems can be managed with less resources to a high quality whilst also ensuring that the energy is being used efficiently. 

Accelerating succession and evolution

Accelerating succession and evolution

Accelerating natural succession can be beneficial and can speed up the agricultural process. By using what is already growing in the environment, it is possible to maximise the use of land and tactically choose crops that will thrive around the other elements. 

Apple Tree Guild

Diversity; including guilds

Diversity is relevant to future planning, by creating a diverse crop base you can be prepared for the future. Consideration of the species you are planting amongst the others is important as some may compete for water, light and nutrients.


Edge effects

Bill Mollison highlights the significance of an edge within the natural environment. The edge between two ecosystems is the area where there is the majority of the productivity.

wind farm

Everything works both ways

Everything works both ways, is an interesting principle of permaculture. "Every resource is either an advantage or a disadvantage, depending the use made of it." Mollison and Slay

information imagination intensive

Permaculture is information and imagination-intensive

Permaculture promotes both environmental and mental sustainability. "Information is the most portable and flexible investment we can make in our lives; it represents the knowledge, experience, ideas and experimentation of thousands of people before us." Mollison and Slay.