Virginia Tech will host the Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture Symposium at its Caribbean Center for Education and Research in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic, May 31 – June 2. The symposium is designed to promote inclusion of biodiversity conservation objectives in agricultural development activities.

Internationally recognized experts will explain why biodiversity is important, review global biodiversity loss, and discuss how biodiversity conservation activities can be incorporated into agricultural activities ranging from aquaculture to livestock production and traditional row and tree crops. In addition, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will present a half-day program on USAID biodiversity conservation earmark requirements and how agricultural development projects can be designed to meet them.

The symposium is sponsored through two large USAID-funded projects that Virginia Tech manages, the Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Program, and the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program. Additional support comes from the PUNTACANA Ecological Foundation, the PUNTACANA Resort and Club, and the Virginia Tech Office of International Research, Education, and Development.

Symposium speakers come from such organizations as the Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources, the World Conservation Union, Forest Trends and Ecoagriculture Partners, and the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza.

Virginia Tech established the Caribbean Center for Education and Research in Punta Cana in 2005. The CCER serves as a center for Tech faculty to conduct research and for students to take classes on biodiversity, environmental and social sustainability, global issues in natural resources, and hotel and tourism management.

Further information on the symposium is available by contacting Theo Dillaha at or at (540) 231-6813.