M. Jahi Chappell, Ph.D.
I am a political ecologist interested in what could broadly be termed sustainable development issues: food security policy, social and environmental justice, agroecology, urban ecology, and conservation biology. Practically speaking, this means I study the design, development and implementation of food and conservation policies at various scales, specifically asking how one may influence (and hopefully support) the other while maintaining effectiveness in both areas. To do this, I apply tools from diverse areas, from political science, sociology, anthropology, science and technology studies and economics to metapopulation and metacommunity theory, theoretical biology, agroecology, and conservation and community ecology. Naturally, it is impossible to be an expert in all of these areas, so I specialize in synthesizing research from these varying arenas and making their perspectives and approaches mutually intelligible. My work thus vitally depends on the cultivation and maintenance of collaboration with a diverse group of scholars and practitioners.
- Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture/Organic Agriculture
- Conservation Biology/Landscape ecology
- Ecological Economics
- Environmental Justice
- Food Security/Food Sovereignty
- Political Ecology
- Social Policy and Social Movements
- Jude Wait (Ph.D.)
- James Moore (M.S.)
- Janel Skreen (M.S., co-advisee, with Steve Sylvester)
- Amber A. Heckelman (Ph.D.)
There is a potential opening for prospective students interested in the environmental pollutant/developmental biology aspects of the food system (for example, parallel to the work of Tyrone Hayes with the herbicide atrazine):
My colleague Cynthia Cooper and I are looking for students with primary interests on the effects of environmental pollutants on development and pigmentation, specifically in zebrafish (at least as a primary model system). The position would be potentially co-advised, such that broader contexts of food production, food security/sovereignty, policy and sustainability could be a significant part of the project, with the zebrafish pigmentation elements serving as a central foundation.
Please contact Dr. Cooper for further information if interested!
I am not seeking other students at this time.
Broadly, I welcome applications from students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds interested in one or more of the three essential areas of my research: development (especially social justice and food security policy), agroecology, and conservation biology. Students who seek to actively integrate social and ecological research, especially but not exclusively under the umbrella of environmental justice, are encouraged to apply; it may be possible to arrange co-advising with faculty from Social Sciences/Liberal Arts, or other faculty in the Sciences program. Besides continuing my research on food policy and conservation in Brazil, I plan to apply my general approach (political ecology of food and the environment) to urban systems. So, I am especially looking for students with special interest or experience in Portuguese, Brazil, urban agriculture, urban ecology, or entomology.
Note: I apologize if I have not responded to your personal e-mails for graduate studies in my lab. It is difficult to track the voluminous e-mail and respond individually. Don’t assume that I have not received your inquiry just because I have not responded, and if I haven't responded in a reasonable time period, you might consider sending a second email to check on things.
B. B. Lin, M. J. Chappell, J. H. Vandermeer, G. Smith, E. Quintero, R. Bezner-Kerr, D. M. Griffith, S. Ketcham, S. C. Latta, P. McMichael, K. McGuire, R. Nigh, D. Rocheleau, J. Soluri, and I. Perfecto. (2011). “Effects of industrial agriculture on climate change and the mitigation potential of small-scale agroecological farms.” CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, Vol. 6(020): 1-18.
M. J. Chappell and L. A. LaValle*. (2011). “Food security and biodiversity: Can we have both? An agroecological analysis.” Agriculture and Human Values, Vol. 28(1): 3-26
C. Badgley, J. Moghtader, E. Quintero, E. Zakem, M. J. Chappell, K. Avilés Vázquez, A. Samulon, and I. Perfecto. (2007). “Organic agriculture and the global food supply.” Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, Vol. 22(2): 86-108.
J. H. Vandermeer, I. Perfecto, S. M. Philpott, and M. J. Chappell. (2008). “Reenfocando la conservación en el paisaje: La importancia de la matrix” in C. A. Harvey and J. C. Saénz (eds.), Evaluación y conservación de biodiversidad en paisajes fragmentados en Mesoamérica. Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica: Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).
M. J. Chappell. “Alternative agriculture and human rights: Prospects for truly sustainable development from Brazil and beyond” (To be published in a special Subsistence volume from McGill-Queen’s University Press, R. W. Sandwell, J. Murton, and C. Duncan, eds.).
J. Fischer, P. Batáry, K.S. Bawa, L. Brussaard, M. J. Chappell, Y. Clough, G.C. Daily, J. Dorrough, T. Hartel, L.E. Jackson, A.-M. Klein, C. Kremen, T. Kuemmerle, D.B. Lindenmayer, H.A. Mooney, I. Perfecto, S.M. Philpott, T. Tscharntke, J.H. Vandermeer, T.C. Wanger and H. von Wehrden. (2011). Land sparing is a simplistic solution for a complex problem [Letter to the editor]. Science 334(6056): 593.
M. J. Chappell and H. N. Sears*, with J. R. Moore*. (2011). "Food security in Latin America", in J. West, (ed.), Europa regional surveys of the world: South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2012. London, UK: Europa Publications.
M. J. Chappell, Food Fight: A SEED Magazine Debate, Parts I-III (w/R. Paarlberg). (2010). “Production isn’t the core problem”, “Let’s examine the Indian ‘Success Story’”, and “True agroecology is by and for the people.” Links to all three parts can be found in the concluding piece: http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/food_fight_conclusion.
M. J. Chappell. (2009). "Belo Horizonte: Regional food security supporting rural sustainability", in E. Nivia, I. Perfecto, M. Ahumada, K. Luz, R. Pérez, J. Santamaría, R. T. Watson, H. R. Herren, and J. Wakhungu, (eds.), Agriculture at a Crossroads: The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), Vol. 3: Latin America and the Caribbean. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, pp. 19-20.
M. J. Chappell, J. H. Vandermeer, C. Badgley, and I. Perfecto. (2009). "Wildlife-friendly farming vs. land sparing." Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7(4): 183-184.
C. Badgley, I. Perfecto, M. J. Chappell, and A. Samulon. (2007). “Strengthening the case for organic agriculture: Response to Alex Avery,” Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, Vol. 22(4): 323-324.
M. J. Chappell. (2007). “Shattering myths: Can sustainable agriculture feed the world?” FoodFirst Institute for Food and Development Policy Backgrounder, Vol. 13(3): 1-4.
- PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan
- BSE, Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan