HRT221 Ecological Design Systems (8)

Living sustainably requires an ethic of care and responsibility that enables us to maintain ourselves, our communities and our environments in ways that sustain and enhance life and wellbeing. To do this successfully requires the intentional design and management of human systems in ways that are compatible with and supportive of, all other natural systems. Permaculture, as a design system and philosophy of living, is used to explore processes for living sustainably and demonstrates principles of engagement with the natural world which bear relevance to holdings both large and small. Other design systems are also studied including Natural Sequence Farming and Yeoman?s Keyline. A key concept underpinning the study is the praxis of engagement between theory and practice. Besides covering the theory of design the subject will demonstrate how concepts work in practice.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2018.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

No enrolment restrictions

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to accurately demonstrate the ecological foundations of Permaculture, Keyline Farming, and Natural Sequence Farming
  • be able to demonstrate how to evaluate, for a particular context (eg farm, catchment, community, etc), its ecological and functional effectiveness and efficiency using permacultural concepts and landscape reading tools
  • be able to demonstrate how to design the development and management strategies and techniques compatible with Permaculture's goals for ecological sustainability
  • be able to develop an approach to design in an ecological context


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Permaculture: history and philosophy
  • Permaculture: ecological foundations
  • Ecosystem functions
  • Energy accounting and resource utilisation
  • Reading the landscape: ecosystem description and evaluation
  • Ecological thinking principles as applicable to farming in varying contexts
  • Planning and design principles and practices
  • Keyline farming: its principles & applications to ecological farming practices
  • Natural Sequence Farming: its principles and limitations


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.