Permaculture in Portugal: Social-Ecological Inventory of a Re-Ruralizing Grassroots Movement

  • 1 Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Portugal
  • 2 Evolution and Environmental Changes, Portugal

Abstract

Southern European countries face a panorama of rural landscape abandonment, ageing rural population and lack of opportunities for vibrant rural lifestyles. This lead the way for over-exploitative monocultural practices and widespread abandonment of traditional land management practices, intensifying the degradation of rural landscapes, suffering already from the impacts of climate change and global economic pressures. Although policy driven initiatives can scale solutions to have wider impact, if not attuned to local contexts they can also increase the problems felt at the local level. Highlighting local grassroots innovations and locally appropriate solutions can support such attunement. Community-led grassroots initiatives have been sprouting, wishing to regenerate their landscapes grounded on ecocentric ethical approaches to Neo-rural lifestyles. Within Portugal, Permaculture, as a landscape ecological design movement and practice, has been one of those approaches, activated by young citizens wishing to recreate and innovate alternatives for the sustainable management of land, associated with lifestyle choices and local entrepreneurship. With this article, using a socio-ecological inventory as a baseline exploratory study, we are aiming to identify and start characterizing, the Permaculture landscape ecological design movement in Portugal, the motivations and perceptions of such movement, and its contribution towards the transformation of landscape management, societal trends and ecocentric innovations, to create more sustainable socio-ecological rural livelihoods within a Portuguese context.

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