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03 Sep 2013: Crop Pests Migrate Poleward
Due to Global Warming, Study Says

Stem rust crop pest
USDA
Stem rust (Puccinia graminis fungus)
Global warming has been driving crop pests toward the North and South poles at a rate of 1.7 miles per year, according to new research from the U.K. Looking at the distribution of 612 crop pests over the past 50 years, the researchers found a strong correlation between warming global temperatures and increased ranges for the pests. “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 Daniel Bebber, a biologist at the University of Exeter who led the study published in Nature Climate Change. Crop pests — which include insects as well as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and nematodes — destroy 10 to 16 percent of the world's crops each year, or enough food to feed nine percent of the population, scientists estimate.


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