Permaculture is at heart an integrative and eclectic movement. It draws deeply from traditional knowledge and from contemporary scientific understanding in an attempt to weave human culture back into the fabric of living ecosystems. Permaculture is also very contextual. If they are to succeed, permaculture designs must be deeply rooted in the particular place in which they occur: geography, ecology, climate, culture, economy, and the needs and priorities of the resident human community.
While it is very difficult to concisely define a movement as broad and as diverse as permaculture, there are several commonly used descriptions offered up by several key voices in the permaculture movement: