The principles of permaculture validated by a scientific study

permaculture principles

Agricultural yields are higher with polyculture than with monoculture.

While modern agriculture promotes monoculture on the same plot, French researchers from the Centre for functional and evolutionary ecology (CEFE-CNRS/Université de Montpellier) and Inra from Lusignan have just shown that the polycultures have a better yield than monoculture, especially in drought conditions. The results are published in the journal Nature Plants.

The study, which lasted a year and a half, focused on 5 forage plants, with monoculture plots and others associating the 5 plants. The genetic diversity was also varied by the researchers. Some plots have been irrigated and others weren’t irrigated, to check the behavior of plants in a drought situation.

In irrigation, the yield of mixed-plant plots was greater than the monoculture plants of 200 grams per m2, or 2 tons per hectare. In a drought situation, the difference has been increased to 8 tons per hectare. The yield of plots containing ten different genotypes of the same species was more stable than those with a single genotype.

This study suggests that biodiversity, such as permaculture practice, is more interesting to improve yields than the current model.

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