Assessing the threat of agricultural pests under changing climates

Climate change presents many challenges to agriculture, including drought and irregular weather, but changing climatic conditions may also alter habitat suitability for pest species.

Data resources used via GBIF : 18 million species occurrences

Climate change presents many challenges to agriculture, including drought and irregular weather, especially in Africa where climate-change effects are projected to be some of the most severe in the world. Changing climatic conditions may also alter habitat suitability for pest species, which could change the threat of such pests. In this study, researchers used GBIF-mediated occurrences to model the distribution of three important pest species (Tuta absoluta, Ceratitis cosyra, and Bactrocera invadens) under current and future climates. Showing a good predictive performance, the models indicated that habitat suitability for the three insect pests is partially increasing across the continent, especially in those areas already overlapping with or close to most suitable sites under current climate conditions. The three pests are likely to remain a threat to agricultural production under future climatic conditions. These results may inform management decisions and help farmers choose crops less susceptible to certain pest species.

Citations

Biber-Freudenberger L, Ziemacki J, Tonnang HEZ and Borgemeister C (2016) Future Risks of Pest Species under Changing Climatic Conditions. PLOS ONE. Public Library of Science (PLoS) 11(4): e0153237. Available at doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0153237.

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