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Nature's Matrix


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Table of Contents

1. Matrix Matters: An Overview

2. The Ecological Background

3. Ecological Theory and Political Realities

4. Historical Patterns in Agriculture

5. Alternatives to the Industrial Model

6. The Broad Social Context - Theoretical Considerations

7. The Broad Social Context - Practice

8. Coffee Production and Biodiversity Conservation

9. Cacao and Biodiversity: The Historical Development of a Biodiversity Landscape

10. The Production of Food and the Biodiversity Connection

11. The New Paradigm


About the Author

Ivette Perfecto is George W. Pack Professor of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, USA. John Vandermeer is Asa Gray Distinguished University Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, USA. Angus Wright is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies, California State University, USA.


"This is the best and clearest treatment available that explains biodiversity conservation, agriculture, landscapes, agroecology and movement politics. And it does so in an easy to read and easy to understand style. A must read!" - Peter Rosset, Professor of Agroecology, ECOSUR, Mexico "As today's threats of catastrophic biodiversity loss and increased human suffering mount, we have seen ever-more proposals in scientific literature and popular media seeking to superficially solve these problems. In contrast, Perfecto, Vandermeer, and Wright follow in the footsteps of all great revolutionary thinkers by asking us to confront these problems' deepest roots in all their complexity. This second edition of their classic work therefore does one better than the old saw, 'Those who do not learn history are destined to repeat it.' Nature's Matrix shows us as well that those who do not understand agroecology and food sovereignty are destined to recreate injustices against both people and nature. Luckily, Nature's Matrix shows us that, by taking allyship with social movements seriously, we can move the arc of history towards justice and sustainability for all of earth's inhabitants." - M. Jahi Chappell, Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience, Coventry University, UK "Nature's Matrix delves deep into the ecological, social, and political factors that drive biodiversity conservation in the tropics. The authors use both theory and case studies to successfully argue for the integration of agroecology, landscape ecology, and social justice for peasant farmers as necessary components for meeting conservation goals." - Stacy Philpott, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA "This powerfully written and accessible book is a must-read for anyone concerned with the future of our global food system and its capacity to support both food sovereignty and biodiversity. This new edition provides critical evidence that landscapes that support an agricultural matrix based on principles of social and ecological justice are the only way to sustainably feed the future." - Hannah Wittman, Professor and Director, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Canada Praise for the first edition "This well written book is informed by sophisticated ecological theory applied to the complexities of modern tropical development in a dazzling critique of conventional thinking." - Susanna Hecht, Professor of Urban Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, and author of Fate of the Forest. "Greens of every stripe - agro-ecologists, conservationists, regional planners - recognize the need for ecologically farmed areas, an empowered farm population, preserved areas in any sustainable, just and productive mosaic landscape. We all advocate this integration. This book does it." - Richard Levins, Professor of Population Sciences at Harvard University, USA, and author of The Dialectical Biologist and Biology Under the Influence. "As the authors demonstrate in this ground-breaking book, traditional agroecosystems not only offer promising models for other areas as they promote biodiversity, thrive without agrochemicals, and sustain year-round yields but are key for food sovereignty and the conservation of millions of wild species as they promote high quality matrices." - Miguel Altieri, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, and author of Agroecology: The Science of Sustainable Agriculture.

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