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Ivette PERFECTO

School of Environment and Sustainability | University of Michigan
Presentation:"Coffee Landscapes Shaping the Anthropocene: A Socio-Ecological Portrait of Coffee Plantations in the Soconusco Region of Chiapas, Mexico (co-authors, M. Esteli Jimenez-Soto) and John Vandermeer"

Ivette Perfecto is the George W. Pack Professor of Ecology, Natural Resources and Environment. Her research focuses on biodiversity and arthropod-mediated ecosystem services in rural and urban agriculture. She also works on spatial ecology of the coffee agroecosystem and is interested more broadly on the links between small-scale sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and food sovereignty. She teaches Our Common Future (a course on globalization) (Environ 270), Diverse Farming Systems (SNRE 553), Field Ecology (SNRE 556). She is co-author of three books, Breakfast of Biodiversity,  Nature’s Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty, and Coffee Agroecology.

More specifically her lab is investigating how local level multi-species interactions generate autonomous pest control in agroecosystems using coffee agroforests as a model system. In collaboration with John Vandermeer (University of Michigan) and Stacy Philpott (University of California-Santa Cruz) they established a 45-hectare plot in a shaded organic coffee plantation in Chiapas, Mexico, and are conducting research on complex ecological interactions among pests, diseases and natural enemies. In collaboration with Luis Garcia-Barrios from ECOSUR-San Cristobal (Mexico) and John Vandermeer (University of Michigan), they are developing games to help farmers and students better understand ecological complexity in agroecosystems.  Another research project examines how local and landscape level factors affect diversity and ecosystem services (pollination and pest control) in urban gardens in Southeast Michigan.  More general interests include the role of the agricultural matrix in the conservation of biodiversity, food sovereignty and political ecology in the Global South, especially Latin America.

Topics

A chess-like board game developed by University of Michigan researchers helps small-scale Mexican coffee farmers better understand the complex interactions between the insects and fungi that live on their plants—and how some of those creatures can help provide natural pest control.