"Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz, Family Euphorbiaceae) is one of the most important staple crops for farmers in the tropics due to its high calorie content, low production cost and ability to adapt to different soil types and climatic conditions (Cock 1982; FAO and IFAD 2000; Mejía de Tafur 2002). Recent estimates suggest that as many as 500 million to 1 billion people consume cassava, making it the third most important crop in the tropics after rice and maize (Dutt et al. 2005; Breu 2005; FAO 2008). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insect pests and plant diseases reduce cassava yields substantially, posing a threat to food security throughout the developing
world. While agricultural scientists have recognized these threats, few assessments of the geographic distribution of cassava
pests and diseases have been made at the global scale. The goal of this study is to make such an evaluation for four key biotic
constraints to cassava production in developing countries: whiteflies, cassava green mites, cassava mosaic disease and cassava
brown streak disease. Occurrence records were obtained from laboratory and biodiversity databases and from the scientific
literature. These records were then used in ecological niche models to predict the potential distribution of cassava pests
and diseases. The distribution maps were cross validated by holding back 20% of the occurrence records. Potential distribution
maps were developed by combining the results of the best ecological niche models. Hotspots for potential cassava pest and
disease outbreaks include the Mato Grosso in Brazil, northern South America, the African rift valley, the southern tip of
India and much of Southeast Asia, where all four biotic constraints show high potential suitability. Our work highlights how
potential geographical shifts in infestation hotspots for several cassava biotic constraints will require intensified monitoring,
evaluation and research to prevent yield losses and ensure food security.
KeywordsCassava–Whitefly–Green mite–Cassava mosaic disease–Cassava brown streak disease–Geographic distribution–Ecological modeling
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