A polyculture is any horticultural or agricultural system which includes two or more kinds of organisms in close proximity. Polyculture is distinguished from monoculture, which concentrates on one organism in concentration and separate from other crops or livestock. Different types of polyculture include:
- intercropping - planting of different crops in close proximity (with or without reference to their potential ecological relationships)
- companion planting - focuses on a few interactions of a few plants
- agroforestry - intercropping systems which include trees and/or shrubs
- aquaponics - a type of aquaculture that includes the interaction of aquatic organisms and non-aquatic plants
- permaculture guild - designed in reference to a complex set of organisms and their relationships
Any particular polyculture system may fall into one or more of these types.