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Integrating Biodiversity Conservation and Agriculture: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Directions. CRSP Perspective. Who we are and what we do? Importance of research in development Challenges Opportunities Future Directions.

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CRSP Perspective

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Crsp perspective

Integrating Biodiversity Conservation andAgriculture: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Directions


Crsp perspective

CRSP Perspective

  • Who we are and what we do?

  • Importance of research in development

  • Challenges

  • Opportunities

  • Future Directions

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Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture SymposiumPunta Cana, DRMay 31-June 2, 2006


Who we are and what do we do

Who we are and what do we do?

  • We are a component of the congressionally mandated Title XII program that was created to work in partnership with USAID to achieve the international development goals of the United States.

  • We conduct agricultural and NRM research in counties with USAID Missions to improve livelihoods.

  • We are educators – we have educated thousands of host country graduate students over the past 25 years, many of whom are now leading scientists and policy makers.

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Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture SymposiumPunta Cana, DRMay 31-June 2, 2006


Who we are and what do we do1

Who we are and what do we do?

  • We build host country institutional capacity by creating, nurturing, and developing long-term institutional partnerships with host country institutions involved in agriculture and NRM.

  • We provide US students and faculty with international research and development experience .

  • We provide knowledge that is shared globally and benefits both developing and developed countries.

  • We publish and disseminate the results of our research successes and failures so that others can easily benefit from our activities.

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Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture SymposiumPunta Cana, DRMay 31-June 2, 2006


Importance of research in development

Importance of research in development

  • The developing world is littered with well intentioned but failed development projects.

  • Experts estimate that over 50% of the foreign donor water supply and sanitation projects in developing countries fail within 5 years.

  • I don’t know the statistics, but I would assume that failure rates are similar or possibly higher for agricultural and NRM development projects.

  • We are not talking about millions of wasted dollars but tens of billions of dollars and the associated lost opportunity costs.

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Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture SymposiumPunta Cana, DRMay 31-June 2, 2006


Importance of research in development1

Importance of research in development

  • Why are failure rates so high?

    • Developers have been slow to “learn” from and to “share” the knowledge generated through their unsuccessful experiments.

    • Focus on the short term and insufficient in country capacity for long term management.

  • Properly designed research identifies the causes of failure and success, and the dissemination of this knowledge improves future success rates.

  • Research provides new tools for development and identifies the conditions under which these tools are “likely” to be useful.

  • Research should be a component of every significant development project, unless it is based on proven and accepted technologies and has little risk of failure, so that we can learn from the success or failure of the project and improve future project success rates.

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Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture SymposiumPunta Cana, DRMay 31-June 2, 2006


Crsp challenges

CRSP Challenges

  • CRSP research costs increase due to inflation

  • CRSP funding decreases in real and inflation adjusted terms.

  • There is a perception that we are being asked to do more with less.

  • Better communicating what we do and how it can be used to improve agricultural development and NRM (including biodiversity and other ecosystem services).

  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services research is a long-term proposition. Long-term research support and horizons are essential.

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Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture SymposiumPunta Cana, DRMay 31-June 2, 2006


Crsp opportunities

CRSP Opportunities

  • Researching and documenting the causes of agricultural and NRM development project success and failures.

  • Improving the success rates of traditional development projects by widely disseminating knowledge on the causes of project success and failure.

  • These research/evaluation components would be a small portion of project funding but the payoffs could be huge in terms of future cost efficiency.

  • Research/evaluation methodology must be a component of project design.

  • Ag/NRM impact biodiversity/ecosystems services – we are part of the solution.

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Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture SymposiumPunta Cana, DRMay 31-June 2, 2006


Future directions

Future Directions

  • “Biodiversity Conservation Code” research is an appropriate for some CRSPs and CRSP activities and impractical for others.

  • Successful and sustainable agriculture and NRM is dependent on soil quality/soil biodiversity.

  • At a minimum, CRSPs need to insure that the technologies we develop support and improve soil biodiversity.

  • We need to pay more attention to carbon sequestration.

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Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture SymposiumPunta Cana, DRMay 31-June 2, 2006


Future directions1

Future Directions

  • We need more of a systems approach in some of our activities that includes biodiversity conservation and ecosystems services.

  • There will always be new research and capacity building needs. We must maintain and increase our host country building activities so that some day we are not needed (as much).

  • We need to share our knowledge via public domain journals/sources.

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Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture SymposiumPunta Cana, DRMay 31-June 2, 2006


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