AIBS 2009 Meeting

The ABCs of Agriculture, Biodiversity, and Climate Change

At the American Institute of Biological Sciences' May 2009 meeting, CEDD Executive Secretary David Blockstein chaired a breakout session called "The ABCs of Agriculture, Biodiversity, and Climate Change." The session description, video, and PowerPoint presentations are below.

Session description: The rapidly changing climate makes the conservation of biodiversity even more important as a course of resilience and adaptability. Genetic diversity is essential to the continued production of food and fiber. Agricultural landscapes are important reservoirs of biological diversity and agricultural practices can have significant positive and negative impacts on natural biodiversity. Yet, there is little interchange among the agricultural, biodiversity and climate change communities of scientists or policymakers.This session will explore issues of science and policy at the intersection of these issues. We will look both from a genetic and landscape perspective, domestically and internationally.


Welcome and Introductions (video)

  • David Blockstein, National Council for Science and the Environment

Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (slides, video)

Ecosystem Services Provided by Agricultural Biodiversity (slides , video)

  • Devra Jarvis, Senior Scientist, Agricultural Biodiversity and Ecosystems Diversity for Livelihoods Programme at Bioversity International

Domestic Policy Issues Related to Biodiversity and Agriculture (slides, video)

  • Martha L. Noble, Senior Policy Associate, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

International Policy Issues Related to Biodiversity and Agriculture (slides , video)

  • Susan H. Bragdon, Sustainability Advisor to the Oregon Board of Higher Education and Director of the Summer Sustainability Series

Comments on National Institute of Food and Agriculture

We recently had a unique opportunity to help shape the USDA competitive research program. As part of the Farm Bill approved by Congress and signed by President Bush last October, the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) will be reorganized into a new National Institute of Food and Agriculture (the Institute). The Institute provides a very important opportunity to integrate environmental and agricultural research at USDA and at the academic programs that will be funded by the Institute.

USDA sought comments about the proposed Institute through a formal federal rulemaking process. Guiding principles for the Institute can be found here.

CEDD formed an ad hoc committee to put together a coherent set of comments. Randy Southard, Associate Dean of the University of California-Davis, chaired the committee. Other members include:
Jay Bell, University of Minnesota
Robert Goodman, Rutgers University
Barb Knuth, Cornell University
Robert Taylor, Alabama A&M University
Jane Wolfson, Towson University

Ralph Otto, Associate Administrator for CSREES, graciously gave his time to brief us on the Institute.

CEDD's comments were submitted to USDA via email on February 6, 2009. See them here.