IMPLICATIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE FOR PESTS AND DISEASES

Conditions are more favorable for the proliferation of insect pests in warmer climates. Longer growing seasons will enable insects such as grasshoppers to complete a greater number of reproductive cycles during the spring, summer, and autumn. Warmer winter temperatures may also allow larvae to winter-over in areas where they are now limited by cold, thus causing greater infestation during the following crop season. Altered wind patterns may change the spread of both wind-borne pests and of the bacteria and fungi that are the agents of crop disease. Crop-pest interactions may shift as the timing of development stages in both hosts and pests is altered. The possible increases in pest infestations may bring about greater use of chemical pesticides to control them, a situation that will require the further development and application of integrated pest management techniques.

 INSECT POPULATIONS

Most studies have concluded that insect pests will generally become more abundant as temperatures increase, through a number of inter-related processes, including range extensions and phonological changes, as well as increased rates of population development, growth, and migration.

 

Global warming will increase pest populations, including weeds, invasive species, insects, and insect-borne diseases, which will likely lead to large increases in the use of pesticides. The effects of climate change are already beginning to be seen, and will continue to be seen for years to come. Without drastic actions to curb global warming, the current course we are heading on will lead to booms in pest populations and pesticide use.

 

In addition to increasing weed populations; global climate change is expected to increase the frequency and the intensity of insect outbreaks through direct effects of climate change on insect populations, as well as through disruption of community interactions. Researchers have found that insect species that adapt to warmer climates also will increase their maximum rates of population growth, meaning that global warming will likely lead to increased insect populations.

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