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USAID Biodiversity & Forestry Seminars

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 11:46 AM
USAID’s Biodiversity and Forestry Team hosts "extended team meetings" open to anyone with a professional interest in forestry and biodiversity conservation. This tradition has evolved into a Fall and Spring seminar series. At each seminar, a speaker (or speakers) presents an issue of interest, followed by a question and answer session. Seminars focus on broader topics that are thematic or technical in nature, rather than specific projects supported by USAID.

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USAID’s Biodiversity and Forestry Team hosts "extended team meetings" open to anyone with a professional interest in forestry and biodiversity conservation.  This tradition has evolved into a Fall and Spring seminar series.  At each seminar, a speaker (or speakers) presents an issue of interest, followed by a question and answer session. Seminars focus on broader topics that are thematic or technical in nature, rather than specific projects supported by USAID.

Meetings are held on the first Thursdays of February, March, April, October, November, and December from 9:30 am - 11:00 am, unless otherwise noted, in the USAID Information Center, located on the mezzanine of the Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC.


Upcoming Events:

DECEMBER 3, 2009 9:30-11am

Supporting species conservation in highly challenging environments: Evaluating US Fish and Wildlife Service's Great Apes Conservation Fund 

US Fish and Wildlife Service with evaluators Gary Tabor and Fred Sowers

Our closest relatives, Great Apes-chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans-are among the most threatened species on earth. For nine years, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has supported Great Ape conservation through its grant fund, working with partners in some of the most conflict-prone areas on earth, such as eastern DR Congo. This year the FWS in collaboration with USAID undertook a comprehensive evaluation of its Great Ape program in the Congo Basin, including visits to 11 field sites. Findings from that evaluation will be presented as well as an overview of the program's successes and challenges. We will then have a chance to discuss with FWS staff and the evaluators ways to support and improve Great Ape conservation.

Recent Events:

NOVEMBER 5, 2009 9:30-11am

Perspectives on the Lacey Act Amendment


USAID's Forestry Team and guests

A law known as the U.S. Lacey Act was amended under The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (a.k.a. "Farm Bill), last Spring. The Lacey Act is an old statute governing the trade of wildlife and endangered species within the USA and international commerce. Congress sought to amend the Act to encompass trade in illegal plants and their derivatives as a way of addressing illegal logging and associated trade.

The Lacey Act (16 U.S.C 3371 et seq.) as amended makes it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant, with some limited exceptions, taken or traded in violation of the laws of the United States, a U.S. State or a foreign country.  As of May 22, 2008, if a tree is illegally harvested, made into wood products, and then exported to the United States, or to a destination which will further manufacture the product and export the material to the United States, anyone involved in these transactions who knew or should have known that the wood was illegal, may be prosecuted for violation of the Lacey Act. 

What does this amendment to the Lacey Act mean for forest management in developing countries? How are the private sector and other actors responding and mobilizing? USAID's Forestry Team will lead a discussion of this important law and the evolving strategies and systems being designed to address its implications.

Some further information on the Act can be found at:

OCTOBER 1, 2009 9:30-11am

The anthropocene and anthropogenic biomes: a new way of understanding and measuring human impact on the earth

Presentation by Prof. Erle Ellis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

The Anthropocene defines Earth's most recent geologic time period as being human-influenced, or anthropogenic, based on overwhelming global evidence that atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic, biospheric and other earth system processes are now altered by humans. The word combines the root "anthropo," meaning "human" with the root "-cene," the standard suffix for "epoch" in geologic time. The Anthropocene is distinguished as a new period either after or within the "Holocene," the current epoch, which began approximately 10,000 years ago (about 8000 BC) with the end of the last glacial period. Anthropocene is a new term, proposed in 2000 by Nobel Prize winning scientist Paul Crutzen. Crutzen noted that the term originated in 2000 at "a conference where someone said something about the Holocene. I suddenly thought this was wrong. The world has changed too much. So I said: ‘No, we are in the Anthropocene.' I just made up the word on the spur of the moment. Everyone was shocked. But it seems to have stuck." Crutzen then proceeded to use the term in print in 2000. In 2008, Zalasiewicz and colleagues published the first proposal for the formal adoption of the Anthropocene epoch by geologists, and this adoption is now pending.

Prof. Ellis's work focuses on understanding the ecology of densely populated landscapes as they are transformed by population growth and industrially-based technologies.  He is particularly concerned by the global and local environmental impacts of land use change and the very high nutrient inputs that are now used to sustain food security in the villages of developing countries. Recently, he has been conducting work across rural China as principal investigator of the project Long-Term Biogeochemical Changes in China's Anthropogenic Landscapes. He has also been investigating anthropogenic biomes, the global ecological patterns produced by human/environment interactions.

MAY 7, 2009 9:30-11am

Financial tools for a warming world: Development finance and climate change

The USAID Offices of Climate Change, Natural Resources Management, and Development Credit recently solicited the assistance of ICF International to identify and highlight the intersection between development finance and global climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in rural areas of developing countries. ICF made recommendations to USAID about how the Agency’s financing interventions might encourage village level climate change adaptation and mitigation.

This presentation will summarize the results of this study. The presentation will explore a variety of topics relating to the certification and registration of carbon sequestration and credits, voluntary carbon markets, non-profit and for-profit carbon funds, carbon offset value chains, and use of carbon markets in generating a stream of funds. It will discuss how development finance can be used to catalyze these activities. Specific topics covered in the presentation will include: 1) how USAID can use development finance to mitigate global climate change in the agricultural and forestry sectors in rural areas, and 2) how financing mitigation can spur climate adaptation efforts. Such activities could include micro loans, loan guarantees, and technical assistance in the financial sector, institutional strengthening, and support to the development of voluntary carbon markets.

APRIL 2, 2009 9:30-11am

Mapping impacts of climate change on biodiversity: the CATHALAC experience

Presentation of “Potential impacts of climate change on biodiversity in Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic” by the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC) followed by discussion.

MARCH 5, 2009 9:30-11am

Storms and long term solutions: Mitigating natural disasters through improved natural resource management and biodiversity conservation

Roundtable discussion organized by USAID’s Natural Resource Management Office and Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Bureau

FEBRUARY 5, 2009 9:30-11am

Agroforestry around protected areas: Perceptions and policies

Presentation by Diane Russell, USAID Biodiversity & Forestry Team based on work by the World Agroforestry Centre, Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and University of Georgia

Agroforestry is a natural resource management approach that uses woody biomass for a range of functions on farm and in landscapes. Many conservation projects have hypothesized that agroforestry can reduce pressures on natural forests that are protected or otherwise fragile. It turns out that policies and markets along with other factors play a big role in determining the efficacy of these interventions. This seminar presents results of a joint program for students to carry out research on this topic in seven African countries.



Presentations and resources from previous events of this seminar series can be found in the Tools and Resources tab.


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