Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture Symposium

PUNTA CANA Resort and Club
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
May 31-June 2, 2006

Organized by the Virginia Tech Office of International Research, Education, and Development with funding from the United States Agency for International Development


The Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture Symposium was held at the PUNTACANA Resort and Club in the Dominican Republic. The symposium brought together over 100 biodiversity conservation and agricultural researchers and development specialists to:

  • better understand the importance of biodiversity and why it is essential for the provision of ecosystem services;
  • explore how biodiversity conservation can be integrated into agricultural development activities;
  • demonstrate why biodiversity conservation is essential to sustainable development; and
  • explain how agricultural development projects can be designed to meet USAID Biodiversity Conservation Earmark requirements.


This Symposium was sponsored by the Integrated Pest Management and the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Management (SANREM) Collaborative Research Support Programs of the Virginia Tech Office of International Research, Education, and Development, with support from:


The Symposium was held at the PUNTACANA Resort and Club in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The PUNTACANA Resort and Club and the PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation are committed to sustainable ecotourism and the protection and preservation of the natural resources of the Punta Cana region. The Foundation maintains a 1,500 acre ecological park and research center adjacent to the resort, where research, education and outreach programs on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development are accomplished by students, professors, and researchers from more than ten universities.


Tuesday, May 30

Time Event
7:00 pm Welcoming Reception, La Choza Restaurant

Wednesday, May 31

Time Event
8:00 am Welcome and Introductions – Elena Brineman, Director USAID Dominican Republic; S.K. De Datta, Virginia Tech; Jake Kheel; PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation
8:40 Logistics and Symposium Overview – Theo Dillaha, Virginia Tech
8:50 Biodiversity and USAID – Mary Rowen, USAID Biodiversity Team (Presentation)
9:00 Biodiversity – What is it and Why is it Important? – Jon Erickson , University of Vermont (Abstract, Presentation)
9:50 Discussion Break
10:20 Magnitude and Overview of Global Biodiversity Loss – Jeff McNeely, World Conservation Union (IUCN) (Abstract, Presentation)
11:10 Biodiversity, Agriculture, and Markets – Paul J. Ferraro, Georgia State University (Abstract, Presentation)
Noon Lunch – La Cana Restaurant
1:30 pm Aquaculture and Biodiversity Conservation – James S. Diana, University of Michigan (Abstract, Presentation, Paper)
2:30 Alternative Biodiversity Conservation Standards – Dave Gibson, Chemonics International Inc. (Abstract, Presentation)
3:00 Break
3:30 Opportunities for Biodiversity Conservation in Cattle Production Systems – Celia Harvey, Department of Agriculture and Agroforestry, CATIE, Costa Rica (Abstract, Presentation)
4:10 Ecoagriculture: Integrating Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation – A Landscape Perspective – Sara Scherr, Ecoagriculture Partners (Abstract, Presentation)
5:00 Discussion
5:15 Optional tours of PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation Center for Sustainability and Biodiversity
6:00 Adjourn
7:00 Banquet, Ananí Restaurant. Speaker: Ted Kheel, President of Nurture New York’s Nature and CEO of PUNTACANA Resort and Club

Thursday, June 1

Time Event
8:00 am International Agricultural Research Center Biodiversity Conservation Activities – Meine Van-Noordwijk, World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Bogor, Indonesia (Presentation)
8:30 Biodiversity Conservation and Coffee Production in Central America – Leif Pedersen, Rainforest Alliance, Costa Rica (Abstract, Presentation)
9:00 Considering Biodiversity Threats to Production Agriculture – Mike Bertelsen, Virginia Tech (Abstract, Presentation)

Collaborative Research Support Program Biodiversity Conservation activities

Time Event
9:30 SANREM CRSP Biodiversity Conservation Activities – Theo Dillaha, Virginia Tech (Abstract, Presentation)
9:45 IPM CRSP Biodiversity Conservation Activities – Donald Plucknett, Virginia Tech (Abstract, Presentation)
10:00 Discussion Break
10:30 Bean/Cowpea CRSP Biodiversity Conservation Activities – Jim Steadman, University of Nebraska (Abstract, Presentation)
10:45 Global Livestock CRSP Biodiversity Conservation Activities – Tag Demment, UC-Davis (Abstract, Presentation)
11:00 Soil Management CRSP Biodiversity Conservation Activities – Goro Uehara, University of Hawaii (Abstract, Presentation)
11:15 BASIS CRSP Biodiversity Conservation Activities – Michael Carter, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Abstract, Presentation)
11:30 INSORMIL CRSP Biodiversity Conservation Activities – Gebisa Ejeta, Purdue University (Presentation)
11:45 Peanut CRSP Biodiversity Conservation Activities – Tim Williams, University of Georgia (Abstract, Presentation)
Noon Lunch, La Cana Restaurant
1:30 pm USAID and Biodiversity Conservation – Mary Rowen, USAID Biodiversity Team (Abstract, Presentation)
2:30 USAID’s Biodiversity Code: What does it mean and what counts? – Mary Rowen, USAID Biodiversity Team (Presentation)
3:30 Discussion Break
4:00 Case Studies: Biodiversity and Sound NRM – Mary Rowen, USAID Biodiversity Team
5:00 Discussion
5:30 Adjourn
6:30 Reception and Dinner, Rainieri Villa, Hosted by Frank and Haydee Rainieri

Friday, June 2

Time Event
8:00 am A Vision for Biodiversity in the Dominican Republic – Bill Kaschak, International Resources Group (Abstract, Presentation: English, Spanish)
8:45 Madre de las Aguas Conservation Area – Dominican Republic Biodiversity Case Study – Fausto Gomez Pezzoti, The Nature Conservancy, Dominican Republic (Abstract, Presentation)
9:30 Markets, Food Security, and Conservation: A Model for Rural Development in Zambia – Dale Lewis, Wildlife Conservation Society, Zambia (Abstract, Presentation)
10:00 Discussion Break
10:30 Panel Discussion: Integrating Biodiversity Conservation and Agriculture: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Directions

  • Theo Dillaha, SANREM CRSP (Presentation)
  • Dale Lewis, Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Meine Van-Noordwijk, World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Bogor, Indonesia
  • Chris Kosnik, USAID/EGAT/NRM
11:15 Discussion
11:45 Concluding Remarks, S.K. De Datta, Virginia Tech
Noon Symposium Adjourns

Symposium Participants

A list of Symposium participants and speakers (pdf) document, with contact info, is available.

Speaker Information

Name Title and Affiliation
Bertelsen, Mike Associate Director, Office of International Research, Education, and Development and, Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
Brineman, Elena Director, USAID Mission, Dominican Republic
Carter, Michael Program Director, BASIS CRSP, and Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison
De Datta, S.K Director, Office of International Research, Education, and Development; Associate Provost for International Affairs, Virginia Tech; IPM and SANREM CRSPs Administrative PI
Demment, Montague Program Director, Global Livestock CRSP, Professor of Agronomy and Range Science, University of California, Davis
Diana, James Associate Dean & Professor of Natural Resources, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Great Lakes & Aquatic Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Dillaha, Theo Program Director, SANREM CRSP, Office of International Research, Education, and Development, and Professor of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
Ejeta, Gebisa Professor of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Erickson, Jon Associate Professor of Ecological Economics, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Environmental Program Fellow, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont
Ferraro, Paul Department of Economics, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta
Gibson, David Land Use Planning and Environmental Management Systems Project Manager, Chemonics International, Inc., Washington, DC
Harvey, Celia Affiliate Faculty, Department of Agriculture and Agroforestry, Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica
Kaschak, William Chief of Party, Improved Policies for Environmental Protection, International Resources Group, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Kheel, Jake Director, PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation
Kheel, Theodore President of Nuture New York’s Nature and CEO of PUNTACANA Resort and Club
Kosnik, Chris Advisor, Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management, USAID
Lewis, Dale Conservation Zoologist, Country Director for Zambia, Wildlife Conservation Society, Lusaka, Zambia
McNeely, Jeffrey Chief Scientist, World Conservation Union (IUCN), Gland, Switzerland
Pedersen, Leif Manager of the Biodiversity Conservation in Coffee Project, Rainforest Alliance, Costa Rica
Pezzoti, Fausto Gomez The Nature Conservancy, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Plucknett, Donald Program Director, IPM CRSP, Office of International Research, Education, and Development, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
Rainieri, Frank President and CEO, Grupo PuntaCana
Rowen, Mary Wildlife and Biodiversity Advisor, Bureau for Economic Growth and Trade/Natural Resource Management/Biodiversity, US Agency for International Development, Washington, DC
Scherr, Sara Agricultural and Natural Resource Economist, Director of Ecoagriculture Partners and Director of Ecosystem Services, Forest Trends, Washington, DC
Steadman, Jim University of Nebraska, Department of Plant Pathology
Uehara, Goro Program Director, Soil Management CRSP, and Professor of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Hawaii, Honolulu
Van Noordwijk, Meine World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Bogor, Indonesia
Williams, Jonathan Peanut CRSP Program Director and Senior Scientist, Office of Global Programs, University of Georgia, Griffin


For additional information on the Symposium, please contact Theo Dillaha (Symposium Chair).