This integrated approach is based on combining shrubs and trees with crops and livestock. It is a combined practice of forestry and agricultural technologies to achieve a more productive and profitable, yet more diverse and healthy usage of land. The main idea is, as is in the philosophy of permaculture, sustainability. Systems based on agroforestry produce non-timber products in forest settings or trees in an agricultural system.
Another term permaculturalists often use forest gardening. These integrate valuable relationships and processes found in natural ecosystems. Sometimes, the term forest garden is used in parallel with the term food forest, and many permaculture experts and organizations like the Regenerative Leadership institute are proponents of this practice
Just like with the practice of agroforestry, sustainability is the crucial notion of natural building. It involves a whole range of construction systems and materials which promote sustainability. This building discipline focuses on durability and renewable resources to produce healthy living quarters and keep the indoor air at a high level of quality.
Buildings, just like people, leave a carbon footprint and the main goal of natural building is to keep this footprint as small as possible. The environmental impact has to be minimal, but comfort, health or the demand for a certain level of aesthetic value cannot be sacrificed. Besides the usage of renewable resources and natural materials, the emphasis is also on an architectural design which can take advantage of the local climate and weather conditions, exploit the orientation of the building, take advantage of smart design for better ventilation and so on.
Millions of cubic meters of rainwater end up in our drainage systems every day. This water can be put to good use, and rainwater harvesting is all about accumulation and storage of rainwater for later use. This water can be a source of drinking water for livestock; it can be used for irrigation and even drinking water. Simple containers and barrels can store a lot of rainwater collected from the roofs of houses and buildings. Then it can be put to use to increase the availability of drinking water and to help grow green urban gardens. With stormwater harvesting, water is collected from the ground.
Domestic activities like bathing, dishwashing and washing the laundry create a lot of wastewater also called greywater. This water can be recycled too and used to irrigate landscapes. One more kind of wastewater is blackwater or sewage. It contains human waste (toilet water) and cannot be reused very easily. The technological advances offer cheaper and cheaper solutions to treat blackwater so it can be reused. One process of blackwater treatment is humanure, a composting.
Grazing has a bad reputation and is often blamed for many environmental problems. However, research shows that grazing can be beneficial to the environment if used properly. The system of managed intensive rotational grazing (MIRG) produces excellent positive effects. It involves the regular and systematic movement of herds or flocks from one pasture to another so that the herd always grazes a fresh range.