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We should initiate an assessment of how best the International Agricultural Research Centers can play a role in ecosystems research in different biogeographic zones.
We should intensify our efforts to develop alternatives to unsustainable agricultural practices, such as slash-and-burn agriculture, and to incorporate the use of multipurpose tree species in all agricultural projects to reduce pressure on natural habitats. The work under way by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria on alley cropping (i.e., mixing trees with annual food crops in different ecological zones in Africa) is a prototype that could be adapted in other regions of the world.
We should encourage and support expansion of the U.S. Peace Corps program on environmental education and protected area management and the greater use of P.L. 480 funding for conservation activities.
We should use the experience we have gained to encourage and gain the cooperation of other development agencies with a view toward increased investment in conservation.
Many of you are aware that the U.S. Congress is now considering earmarking funds in the USAID budget for biological diversity. While USAID, as a matter of principle, is opposed to all earmarking of funds, we understand and appreciate that this possible allocation of funds is a clear indication of the priority that the conservation community in the United States places on this problem. In response to these interests, we expect to initiate a matching grant program for on-the-ground conservation activities in priority countries. We will also strengthen USAID’s technical capabilities to provide overseas assistance for the design and implementation of these programs. The matching grant programs will attempt to use our funds to leverage investments by national, international, and nongovernment organizations and by developing country governments in programs related to wild plant and animal management and the inventory and assessment of biological diversity resources. The United States has a wealth of talent from which we will draw in our new endeavors to help improve conservation of biological diversity in our client countries.
The Forum on BioDiversity was an important event. It was an important opportunity to refine our understanding and approaches to solving the problems and to heighten the awareness of the public and our political leaders concerning the importance of and threats to the great variety of life on this planet. This awareness is crucial to build support, both here and abroad, for safeguarding this diversity at a time when government expenditures for all activities are declining in most every country in the world.
Harrison, J., K.Miller, and J.McNeely. 1984. The world coverage of protected areas: Development goals and environmental needs. Pp. 24–33 in J.McNeely and K.Miller, eds. National Parks, Conservation and Development: The Role of Protected Areas in Sustaining Society. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.