[permaculture] how many acres per human?

Juergen Botz jurgen at botz.org
Thu Feb 26 19:31:56 EST 2009

Marjory wrote:
> I am wondering if anyone knows of research into how many acres of land 
> in a particular bio-region are needed to support a human in a hunter 
> gatherer type lifestyle.

Not exactly hunter-gatherer, but almost wild:  according to Ernst
Goetsch, the guru of tropical agro-forestry in Brazil, his system
will support a family of 4 on a hectar (2.5 acres).  He's a
vegetarian, and produces all his food in his forest system.  He
only plants seeds and prunes things as they are growing, and
"gathers" the produce.

It isn't hunter-gatherer, but it's nearly wild in that his farm
looks just like any mature tropical forest except that it has a
much higher percentage of trees that produce food for "large
animals" (like ourselves) as he puts it.  His farm is much larger
than one hectar, and he produces and sells cacau (of the highest
quality) which grows under the upper stories of the forest.  But
he says he gets all his food (for himself, his wife and 2 young
children) from the hectar around his house.

Ernst's system quickly produces a mature forest ecosystem by
taking advantage of and accellerating natural succession.  This
can be done even in the poor soils that a typical of the
neotropics, and apart from some one-time organic fertilization
during the initial planting, requires no further inputs.


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