Global
Agriculture

Did you know every 1°C rise in temperature could
increase insect pest pressure by up to 25%?

header-insect-pest-pressure.jpg

  

Crops produced in Europe could be significantly impacted by climate change. Higher temperatures could trigger migration of insects from warmer southern to  colder  northern  countries.  Insect  pests  already  reduce  staple  grain crops (wheat, rice, and maize)  by an estimated 5 to 20% [1]. Further yield losses  due  to  increased  insect  pressure  could  increase  by  10  to  25%  per degree  Celsius  of  warming [1].  Such  a  reduction  in  yields  would  risk  food security, quality, and local food production, resulting in increased food prices.  

To investigate potential impact on food security, scientists analysed the global movement of crop pests and concluded  that  geographical  shifts in direction varied with beetles, true bugs, moths and fungi moving to higher latitudes, whereas  viruses  and  soil  insects  shift to  lower  latitudes [2].

Predicting  these  types  of  climate  related  outbreaks  will  rely  on  developing validated computer models, as illustrated below. 

[*] On the cover picture: Desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) on a dirt road.
[1] C. Deutsch et al. Increase in crop losses to insect pests in a warming climate | Science (sciencemag.org), Science 31 Aug 2018: Vol. 361, Issue 6405, pp. 916-919
[2] Bebber et al. Crop pests and pathogens move polewards in a warming world. Nature Clim Change 3, 985–988 (2013).

Last Update 12 July 2021