Friday, March 6, 2009

The third critical component in the natural world is sunlight. On conventional farms, orchards and agro-forests, there is usually only one primary plant species, and sometimes a secondary species, in any given area. Furthermore, a significant fraction of the land is directly exposed to sunlight either between plants or between harvesting and the next planting.

Contrast this with a natural forest, where there are multiple species of plants, each growing to a different height, and adapted to thrive in different intensities of sunlight. As a result, the ground in a mature forest is almost completely dark.

Permaculture design aim to replicate this phenomenon as much as possible on a farm, by creating a 'layered' system. The maximum harvesting of sunlight increases the total yield of the land. Considering that plants are the best solar harvesters we have till date, and that they provide a lot of indirect services along with the food or material harvested, it is imperative that we start employing solar intensive permaculture practices everywhere.

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