The scientific foundation for Permaculture Design Principles lies generally within the modern science of ecology, and more particularly within the branch of ecology called ‘systems ecology’.
Other intellectual disciplines, most particularly landscape, geography and ethnobiology, have contributed concepts that have been adapted to design principles.
Fundamentally, Permaculture design principles arise from a way of perceiving the world that is often described as ‘systems thinking’ and ‘design thinking’.
The foundations of Permaculture, both ethics and design principles, may be observed operating all around us.
Each principle can be thought of as a door into the labyrinth of systems thinking.
Any example used to illustrate one principle will also embody others, so the principles are simply thinking tools to assist us in identifying, designing and evolving design solutions.
What follows are different sets of principles used to guide the process of design as articulated by those created with creating and canonizing the system, from the co-founders of the Permaculture concept:
Bill Mollison, Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual (1988) & Introduction to Permaculture (1991)
David Holmgren, Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability (2002)