Integrating pests and pathogens into the climate change/food security debate

Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK.
Journal of Experimental Botany (Impact Factor: 5.53). 05/2009; 60(10):2827-38. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erp080
Source: PubMed


While many studies have demonstrated the sensitivities of plants and of crop yield to a changing climate, a major challenge for the agricultural research community is to relate these findings to the broader societal concern with food security. This paper reviews the direct effects of climate on both crop growth and yield and on plant pests and pathogens and the interactions that may occur between crops, pests, and pathogens under changed climate. Finally, we consider the contribution that better understanding of the roles of pests and pathogens in crop production systems might make to enhanced food security. Evidence for the measured climate change on crops and their associated pests and pathogens is starting to be documented. Globally atmospheric [CO(2)] has increased, and in northern latitudes mean temperature at many locations has increased by about 1.0-1.4 degrees C with accompanying changes in pest and pathogen incidence and to farming practices. Many pests and pathogens exhibit considerable capacity for generating, recombining, and selecting fit combinations of variants in key pathogenicity, fitness, and aggressiveness traits that there is little doubt that any new opportunities resulting from climate change will be exploited by them. However, the interactions between crops and pests and pathogens are complex and poorly understood in the context of climate change. More mechanistic inclusion of pests and pathogen effects in crop models would lead to more realistic predictions of crop production on a regional scale and thereby assist in the development of more robust regional food security policies.

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    • "Climate changes such as global warming and increasing of extreme weather may produce changes in dynamics of the main crop pests, exacerbating yield losses (Rosenzweig et al., 2001). Many pests and diseases can be favoured by climate changes such as increasing of the temperature in northern latitudes (amprag, 2007; Gregory et al., 2009; Olesen et al., 2011). Same author mentioned that the interactions between crops and pests are complex and poorly understood in the context of new climatic conditions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Climatic conditions of the year 2014 in south-east of the Romania in April and May were atypically. At NARDI Fundulea, rainfalls level, both in April and May were over multiyear average, while air temperature was slight higher then multiyear average in April and lower then multiyear average in May. At ARDS Marculesti, registered rainfall level was slight lower then multiyear average in April and higher then multiyear average in May, while air temperature was higher than multiyear average in April and slight lower then multiyear average in May. Even if the average values of both, the temperatures and rainfalls from spring period of the 2014 seem unfavourable for maize leaf weevil attack at maize and sunflower crops, however this insect produce damaged at both crops. Attack intensity of the maize leaf weevil at the maize untreated plants on a scale from 1 (not attacked) to 9 (total damage) was of 5.91 at NARDI Fundulea and 5.94 at ARDS Marculesti. At sunflower untreated plants, attack intensity of the maize leaf weevil was of 5.45 at NARDI Fundulea and 8.78 at ARDS Marculesti. Untreated sunflower plants were almost totally damaged in 2014, at ARDS Marculesti. In this paper, authors collective try to explain the possible reasons of atypically attacks of the maize leaf weevil at maize and sunflower crops in south-east of the Romania in year 2014.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
    • "Non-significant terms given in the Appendix S1. suppression and even pollination (Nichols et al. 2008; Doube & Marshall 2014). Integration of pests and pathogens into food security– climate change research has been advocated convincingly (Gregory et al. 2009; Newton, Johnson & Gregory 2011), but the role of ecological service providers like dung beetles has received far less attention. Our results suggest they may help augment climate change adaptation approaches and improve the resilience of crops to unpredictable rainfall in the future, particularly in systems which use organic fertilization via application of manure. "
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    ABSTRACT: Climate change models predict more extreme rainfall patterns, ranging from droughts to deluges, which will inevitably affect primary productivity in many terrestrial ecosystems. Insects within the ecosystem, living above- and belowground, may modify plant responses to water stress. For example, some functional groups improve soil conditions via resource provision, potentially alleviating water stress. Enhanced resource provision may, however, render plants more susceptible to herbivores and negate beneficial effects.Using a model system, we tested how plants (Brassica oleracea) responded to drought, ambient and increased precipitation scenarios when interacting with both a soil conditioning ecosystem engineer (dung beetles; Bubas bison) and an aboveground herbivore, the major crop pest Diamond back moth (Plutella xylostella).Dung beetles enhanced soil water retention by 10% and promoted growth in plants subjected to drought by 280%, relieving the impacts of water stress on plants. Under drought conditions, plants grown with dung beetles had c. 30% more leaves and were over twice as tall as those without dung beetles. Dung beetles produced a 2.7 fold increase in nitrogen content and more than a threefold increase in carbon content of the shoots, though shoot concentrations of nitrogen and carbon were unchanged. Carbon concentrations in roots, however, were increased by dung beetles under both ambient and increased precipitation regimes.Increased precipitation reduced root and shoot nitrogen concentrations by 16% and 30%, relative to plants under ambient regimes, respectively, most likely due to dilution effects of increased plant growth under increased precipitation. Soil carbon and nitrogen concentrations were largely unaffected.While dung beetles enhanced plant growth and nitrogen content in plants experiencing drought, the anticipated increase in plant suitability to herbivores did not arise, possibly because shoot nitrogen concentrations and C:N ratio were unaffected.To our knowledge, this is the first report of an insect ecosystem engineer alleviating the effects of predicted drought events on plants via physical manipulation of the soil matrix. Moreover, their effects did not change plant suitability to an aboveground herbivore, pointing to potential beneficial role for insect ecosystem engineers in climate change adaptation and crop protection.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Functional Ecology
    • "Most analyses tend to focus on long-term food supply issues, notably the availability of sufficient land and irrigation water to maintain circa 90% self-sufficiency in food grains and the vulnerability of food production to climate change. However, the environmental impacts also lower current food security, for example, by increasing pest attacks and reducing soil productivity (Gregory et al., 2009). Moreover, the economic impacts include lower access of the poor to food by reducing farm incomes and increasing food prices (SAIN, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: China’s successful achievement of food security in recent decades has resulted in serious damage to the environment upstream of the agricultural sector, on farm and downstream. The environmental costs of this damage are not only agro-ecosystem function and the long-term sustainability of food production, but also bio-physical including human health with impacts at all levels from the local to the global, and with economic loss estimates ranging from 7 to 10% of China’s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP).
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment
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