NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
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PANEL FOR COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH SUPPORT FOR AID'S SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
LOWELL HARDIN, Chairman,
Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo, Guatemala
National Wildlife Federation
Resources for the Future
Ohio State University
Michigan State University
G. EDWARD SCHUH,
Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Phosphate and Potash Institute (Retired)
Ex Officio Members
Collaborative Research Support Program, Michigan State University
Florida Atlantic University
North Carolina State University
JAN VAN SCHILFGAARDE,
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ft. Collins, Colorado
MICHAEL MCD. DOW, Study Director
JAY DAVENPORT, Senior Project Officer
CURT MEINE, Staff Associate
NEAL BRANDES, Study Assistant
NANCY NACHBAR, Program Assistant
BOARD ON AGRICULTURE
THEODORE L. HULLAR, Chairman,
University of California, Davis
PHILIP H. ABELSON,
American Association for the Advancement of Science
DALE E. BAUMAN,
R. JAMES COOK,
Agricultural Research Service at Washington State University
ELLIS B. COWLING,
North Carolina State University
ROBERT M. GOODMAN, Visiting Professor,
University of Wisconsin, and National Research Council Scholar-in-Residence
PAUL W. JOHNSON,
Iowa House of Representatives
NEAL A. JORGENSEN,
University of Wisconsin
ALLEN V. KNEESE,
Resources for the Future, Inc.
JOHN W. MELLOR,
International Food Policy Research Institute
DONALD R. NIELSEN,
University of California, Davis
ROBERT L. THOMPSON,
ANNE M. K. VIDAVER,
University of Nebraska
CONRAD J. WEISER,
Oregon State University
JOHN R. WELSER,
The Upjohn Company
JAMES E. TAVARES, Acting Executive Director
ROBERT M. GOODMAN, NRC Scholar-in-Residence
CARLA CARLSON, Director of Communications
BARBARA J. RICE, Editor
BOARD ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
ALEXANDER SHAKOW, Chairman,
The World Bank
Michigan State University
JORDAN J. BARUCH,
Jordan Baruch Associates
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Congressional Research Service
GEORGE T. CURLIN,
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
University of North Carolina
Boyce-Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell University
Oregon State University
Allan Shaw Feinstein World Hunger Program, Brown University
CHARLES C. MUSCOPLAT,
Molecular Genetics, Inc.
University of Minnesota
ANTHONY SAN PIETRO,
University of Arizona
Ex Officio Members
GERALD P. DINEEN, Foreign Secretary,
National Academy of Engineering
JAMES B. WYNGAARDEN, Foreign Secretary,
National Academy of Sciences
JOHN HURLEY, Director
MICHAEL MCD. DOW, Associate Director
In response to growing support for sustainable international development strategies, the U.S. Congress has recommended that the Agency for International Development (AID) create a new Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP) that focuses on the research needs of sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. The Office of Agriculture in AID's Bureau for Science and Technology subsequently asked that the National Research Council's Board on Agriculture (BA) and Board on Science and Technology for International Development (BOSTID) undertake planning for the new CRSP.
Collaborative research support programs were created under Title XII of the International Development and Food Assistance Act of 1975, which supports long-term agricultural research of benefit to developing countries and the United States. These programs are the primary mechanisms through which U.S. universities conduct such research. Currently eight CRSPs are conducting research on several important crops, livestock, soils, fisheries, aquaculture, and human nutrition.
The charge to the National Research Council's Panel for Collaborative Research Support for AID's Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Program was to: (1) recommend a design for the new CRSP; (2) help AID define research priorities for the new CRSP; and (3) suggest management arrangements for administering the CRSP that will enable it to draw on and contribute to all of AID's agricultural, environmental, and rural development activities. Officials of AID requested that the panel, in carrying out its charge, try to define a process by which knowledge from all relevant AID-supported research, development, and training programs could be integrated and applied in the effort to advance profitable farming sys-
tems that improve local conditions while contributing to broader environmental goals.
The panel is one of three units established at AID's request to assist the Office of Agriculture in reviewing its projects on sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. The Committee for a Study on Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment in the Humid Tropics is studying successful approaches to sustainable agriculture in the humid tropics. Its activities are managed jointly by BA and BOSTID. The Committee International Soil and Water Research and Development is assessing the needs and priorities in soil and water management for developing countries. Its activities are managed jointly by BOSTID and the Water Science and Technology Board.
The Panel for Collaborative Research Support for AID's Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Program has focused on the need to promote integrated, multidisciplinary research across agroecological zones, among departments and institutions of U.S. universities, and in collaboration with other institutions, research institutes, national agricultural research systems, and the international agricultural research centers. Its principal objectives have been to foster a truly collaborative and participatory approach to the design of research and to involve the ultimate beneficiary of the research: the small-scale farmer and rural and urban poor in developing countries. From its inception, the panel has emphasized the need to draw on and actively engage in-country expertise and indigenous knowledge and practices in meeting its objective.
At an organizational meeting in July 1990, participants stressed the fact that research under the new CRSP must focus on on-farm methodologies that effectively integrate the agronomic, biological, ecological, cultural, and socioeconomic factors that govern the performance and sustainability of agroecosystems. Only such integrated research can fill the critical gaps in scientific understanding of the foundation and functioning of sustainable agricultural systems. Of particular importance in this regard are the following:
Conservation of soil and water resources and the impact on fertility of the soil's physical and biological characteristics, processes, and cycles;
Cultural practices for improving soil fertility, controlling erosion, and maximizing biological production potential (for example, tillage methods, crop residue management, irrigation, alley cropping, and agroforestry);
Integrated pest management systems, both pre- and postharvest;
Indigenous practices and uses of germplasm and the economic and cultural consequences of biodiversity loss and preservation;
The consequences of converting forest and savannah lands into range for cattle production;
Institutional arrangements—local, national, and international—involving education, trade, finance, and prices;
Common issues related to property resource management, land tenure, and other public policies; and
The impact of policy incentives or disincentives on the production of cash crops for export or food crops for local consumption.
The development of research methodologies to address these key gaps in knowledge is a formidable task. The further implementation of the necessary research to fill these gaps will require an enormous commitment of resources over an extended time. Participants in the organizational meeting agreed that the new CRSP should not be restricted to, but should concentrate on, the more fragile agroecosystems in targeting its initial investments for maximum effect. They also noted the need for an open planning process for the CRSP. To this end, the panel together with invited participants from the land-grant colleges and universities and other interested organizations—more than 120 people—convened in November 1990 for an open forum on international sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. At the day-long forum, invited speakers and other participants reviewed the CRSP record and the experience of collaborative international agricultural research at U.S. universities. During 3 days of intensive follow-up discussions, participants discussed research priorities and suggested guidelines for establishing and managing a program to encourage research on sustainability, agriculture, and natural resources in U.S. institutions and their developing country counterparts.
The panel met twice after the November forum. This report summarizes the findings from the forum and the subsequent panel discussions. An executive summary provides a synopsis of the rationale and principal recommendations for the new Collaborative Research Support Program on Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management. The panel 's findings and specific recommendations are then presented in greater detail in the main body of the report. The papers presented at the open forum and the discussions that followed generated several significant statements on agroecosystem research and management. These are included as appendixes. A concurrent subpanel was convened to summarize and provide guidance to AID on activities involving integrated pest management, an area of particular importance to sustainability. The discussions of the subpanel will be published in a separate report in late 1991.
The panel has tried to accommodate as faithfully as possible the many viewpoints germane to this topic. The panelists and participants in the November forum, though diverse, were in fact in welcome accord on one principal point: the need for research to focus on the integration of the social and natural sciences in progressing toward sustainability. Not all participants would agree on the means of accomplishing this challenging task. Further, the report does not deal in any depth with population policy
and family planning concerns, which are important factors in the sustainability formula. Nonetheless, within the scope of this report, the broad consensus regarding the nature of the scientific and managerial challenge bodes well for the future. In particular, the challenge of bringing together the varied disciplines, with their different traditions, approaches, and languages, must be met to gain a better understanding of the nature of sustainability.
Panel for Collaborative Research
Support for AID's Sustainable
Agriculture and Natural Resource
As with all endeavors that try to bring different perspectives together and distill large amounts of technical information into a coherent form, this effort has been a challenging one. The panel deeply appreciates the extensive advice it received in the short time available for completion of this report. The panel is entirely responsible for any shortcomings of the report.
Several people deserve special thanks: those who participated in and, in many cases, prepared written papers for the forum and subsequent workshop, and who later commented on the draft report; others who were unable to attend the meeting but who reviewed and offered comments on the draft; and Thurman Grove, for his substantive assistance as liaison at the Agency for International Development.
We would also like to acknowledge the intellectual contributions of Charles Benbrook and Charles B. McCants. Invaluable assistance was provided by Jay Dorsey, Chris Elfring, Patricia A. Harrington, Mary Francis Schlichter, and Lynn Wolter.