Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Permaculture and Your Bioregion Part 1

A more current definition of permaculture, which reflects the expansion of focus implicit in Permaculture One, is ‘Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs. People, their buildings and the ways in which they organise themselves are central to permaculture. Thus the permaculture vision of permanent or sustainable agriculture has evolved to one of permanent or sustainable culture.

While studying for my certificate IV in permaculture I was required to take an in-depth look at the bioregion in which I live. Unlike a region which is usually characterised by man-made divisions,  a bioregion is an area that is that is defined by characteristics of the natural environment.

The New South Wales Department of Environment and Heritage give this definition of a bioregion "Bioregions are relatively large land areas characterised by broad, landscape-scale natural features and environmental processes that influence the functions of entire ecosystems. They capture the large-scale geophysical patterns across Australia. These patterns in the landscape are linked to fauna and flora assemblages and processes at the ecosystem scale, thus providing a useful means for simplifying and reporting on more complex patterns of biodiversity."

If you accept the premise that permaculture is consciously designed landscapes that mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, then it is of the most basic and greatest importance to study in-depth the environment in which one is practicing permaculture.

Our property is situated within the South East Queensland (SEQ) bioregion which runs from the Queensland/NSW border up to about Gladstone. The SEQ bioregion is broken down further to a number of sub-regions and our property is in the Burnett-Curtis Coastal-Lowlands Region (SEQ-08) which runs from Gympie up the coast to Miriam Vale.

For information on where your bioregion extends you could go to this link on on Australia's 89 bioregions and 419 subregions.

For Queenslanders this Government site provides detailed information on characteristics of the bioregions in our state, and is a good place to start when researching your bioregon.

We are living in an area characterised as freshwater estuary.  The non-riverine and riverine wetlands of our area play a significant role in reef resilience due to their high connectivity with adjacent estuarine salt marshes, mangroves, seagrass meadows and coral reefs. Many of the local riverine, non-riverine and estuarine wetlands are also scheduled as High Ecological Value waterways under the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009.

Our climate is s a subtropical maritime climate with mild winters and warm to hot, humid summers. Being on the coast our climate is principally influenced by the south east trade winds and the moderating influences of the ocean. We experience major frontal systems and also receive occasional strong northerly winds and storm swells during summer

Rainfall on our area is usually from late summer to Autumn. Average rainfall is 636 mm per annum. Most of our rain is from the northern monsoons.  The highest rainfall recorded in the area for a year was 1709.6 mls in 1898. Rainfall data shows that annual rainfall has decreased over time.

An in-depth look at your bioregion will naturally include temperature averages and variations. You may want to  do some research to see if there have been changes over time and records set for minimum and maximum temperatures.

If you are in Australia you can find information on your local climate data including rainfall, temperature, weather and climate and solar exposure here 


  1. Aha - this shifts some boundaries in my mind. Time to stop thinking about suburb boundaries and look at things differently

    1. Learning about the bioregion in which I live certainly changed my perspective, in part by creating a closer connection to the natural environment in which I live. The more I learn about my bioregion the more I come to appreciate it.

  2. Thanks for sharing this info. I'll be looking up my area...

    1. You're very welcome Liz. I learnt so much about local conditions when I studied this topic, and this new knowledge has given me an improved framework for my permaculture practice.

  3. Thanks for that info and the links, Sherri. I will be checking them out. Very interesting.

    1. You are very welcome Chel. It is a very interesting subject.