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