Permaforestry is an approach to the wildcrafting and harvesting of the forest biomass that uses cultivation to improve the natural harmonious systems. It is a relationship of interdependence between humans and the natural systems in which the amount of biomass available from the forest increases with the health of its natural systems.
Examples of bioproducts derived from biomass created through permaforestry include: honey, maple syrup and other tree saps, gourmet foods, functional foods, berries, wild mushrooms, ginseng, wild rice, herbs, fiddleheads, fish, frogs and crustaceans, pharmaceuticals, natural health products, essential oils, educational products, arts and crafts, decorative products, floral and greenery, garden horticultural products, woodworking, lumber, biochemicals, biofuels and bioenergy.
Permaforestry was extensively practiced by many aboriginal cultures[example needed] throughout the world prior to colonization. It was replaced by industrial agriculture in most regions where the land could permit the use of machinery, monoculture, or intensive farming and harvesting practices. In the beginning of the 21st century there was a new surge of interest[by whom?] in permaforestry practices to address social issues such as food shortages, rural impoverishment, and changes in the logging industry. Furthermore, climate change and the "green" shift have inspired many individuals[example needed] to revisit the old resource production methods that worked with nature rather than against it. The high price of agricultural land and machinery has also contributed to the development of permaforestry on land that had been previously classified as unsuitable for agriculture.