Crop pests moving polewards through global warming
Paris: Crop-damaging insects, bacteria, fungus and viruses are moving poleward by nearly three kilometres (two miles) each year, helped by global warming, a study has said.
A team at Britain`s University of Exeter trawled through two huge databases to chart the latitude and dates for the earliest record of 612 crop pests.
Since 1960, these pests have been heading either northwards or southwards at a rate of around 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles) yearly.
They move into land that opens up for habitat because of higher temperature and its impact on local weather.
The distance is an average figure, as some pests have travelled faster or slower than this.
Over the last half-century, global surface temperatures have risen by an average of 0.12 degrees Celsius (0.2 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade.
Countries at higher latitudes have more resources than economies in tropical zones in combating the problem, and regions that previously were too cold for agriculture will also open up to the plough.
Even so, the peril of advancing pests should not be under-estimated, as these countries are the planet`s biggest and most productive crop growers, says the paper published Sunday.
"If crop pests continue to march polewards as the Earth warms, the combined effects of a growing world population and the increased loss of crops to pests will pose a serious threat to global food security," said one of the authors, Dan Bebber.
The study, appearing in the journal Nature Climate Change, cites previously published estimates that between 10 and 16 percent of the world`s crop production is lost to pests.
Losses of this kind add to the challenge of feeding the world`s population, which currently stands at 7.2 billion and is projected to reach 10.9 billion by 2100.
Half of the pests are spread by humans, hitchhiking for instance on traded produce, and half are spread by the weather.
Recent examples include the mountain pine beetle, a highly damaging pest for forests, which has moved into newly warmed habitats in the US Pacific northwest.
There is also fusarium head blight, also called scab, which has emerged as a threat to wheat in the United States, its spread encouraged by warm, wet weather.
Another peril is rice blast fungus, which is present in over 80 countries and has now moved to wheat.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Zee Media exclusive chat with 'Welcome to Karachi' cast
- Reservation issue: Police register case against Bainsla, 20 others
- Zee Media exclusive interview with Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar
- UP Minister allegedly threatens, abuses Gonda businessman
- Manali: Heavy corruption found in environmental taxes
- Aapke Sitare: Astro prediction for May 24, 2015
- Watch: Fast N Facts @ 7:30pm
- Five unmanned parachutes spotted over Mumbai airport
- UP: Jammu-bound Muri Express derails in Kaushambi
- One year of Modi govt: How satisfied is the common man?
- Jaipur girl Mini Rajpal wins Miss India Deaf 2015!
- Mumbai architecture creates double decker bus from scrap!
- One year of Modi govt: How satisfied is the common man? Part-2
- Dawood's intercepted phone calls prove yet again he is in Pakistan
- CBSE Board Class 12th Exam Results 2015 declared
- IPL 2015 Final: MI vs CSK - As it happened...
- CBSE.nic.in 12th XII Results 2015: CBSE Board (cbseresults.nic.in) Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 to be announced on May 25
- Heatwave continues in North India; death toll in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana more than 400
- IPL 2015 final: Mumbai Indians thrash Chennai Super Kings by 41 runs to lift second title
- Heatwave claims over 550 lives so far, Delhi saw hottest day
- LIVE - Cbse.nic.in & cbseresults.nic.in Class 12th XII Results 2015: CBSE Board Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 to be announced shortly
- Check cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 12 result 2015
- Kejriwal completes 100 days in office, AAP says centre 'shadow boxing' over row with LG
- Online filing of applications for UPSC civil services exam begins
- Not just today, Muslims feeling alienated since 1947: Najma Heptulla
- Cbse.nic.in & cbseresults.nic.in Class 12th XII Results 2015: CBSE Board Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 declared
- Mathura rally: PM Modi slams 'corrupt' UPA regime, lauds NDA govt's efforts in past one year
- CBSE Class 12 results out: Here's how you can check
- Two dead, over 100 injured as Muri Express derails in UP; Prabhu announces Rs 2 lakhs ex-gratia for kin of dead
- Pakistan criticizes Defence Minister Parrikar's terrorism remarks