Ivette Perfecto is an ecologist and agroecologist recognized for her work on the conservation and function of biodiversity in agroecosystems. She is known particularly for her studies on the ecology of tropical agroforestry systems with a focus on autonomous pest control and spatial ecology of the coffee agroecosystem. Perfecto was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She graduated from the Universidad Sagrado Corazón with a bachelor’s degree in biology and from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in biology and a PhD in natural resources. She joined the faculty of the School of Natural Resources (now School for Environment and Sustainability) of the University of Michigan in 1989. She was one of the lead authors of the International Assessment for Agriculture Knowledge, Science, and Technology published in 2009. She is a founding member of the Alianza de Mujeres en Agroecología-Alliance of Women in Agroecology (AMA-AWA) and a member of Science for the People and The New World Agriculture and Ecology Group since 1981. She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009), Senior Fellow of the Ecological Society of America (2015), and Senior Fellow of the Michigan Society of Fellows (2019-2023).

Research Interests

Ivette Perfecto's research group has developed three main lines of research: 1) the role of agriculture in the conservation of biodiversity at the landscape level; 2) the role of biodiversity on the productivity and sustainability of agroecosystems; and 3) how agroecology contributes to food security and food sovereignty. With respect to the role of agriculture on biodiversity conservation, her lab, in collaboration with Prof. Vandermeer's lab have established the importance of the quality of the agroecological matrix for the conservation of biodiversity at the landscape level. Their research has been pivotal in recognizing that not all agriculture is detrimental for biodiversity conservation and that agroecological systems are essential for biodiversity conservation. Their work on the function of biodiversity in agroecosystems focuses on autonomous pest control and spatial ecology in tropical agroforestry systems. Their research has uncovered the details of how a complex network of ecological interactions that include, competition, predator prey, mutualism and trait-mediated indirect interactions function to generate autonomous control of the major pests and diseases in the coffee agroecosystem. Her lab has also contributed to the analysis of how agroecological systems contribute to food sovereignty by providing more autonomy to small scale peasant farmers.

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Primary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology

Secondary Section

Section 64: Human Environmental Sciences