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Desert locusts—new risks in the light of climate change

Phys.org/news (SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 )

Titre : Desert locusts—new risks in the light of climate change

The desert locust is an invasive species that is both well known and feared because of the large-scale agricultural damage it can cause. It is particularly closely monitored to prevent the risks of outbreaks and invasions. Climate change could modify its distribution area, meaning a new threat to agriculture, according to a study published in the journal Global Change Biology by researchers from CIRAD and INRA.

Phys.org/news (SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 )

Présentation
Current and future climate change could affect the locust risk to varying degrees. It is favourable climatic conditions (heavy rain and high temperatures) that trigger invasions from more limited, desert distribution areas. It is therefore vital to assess the probable evolution of this agricultural pest so as to make the necessary adjustments to the current prevention strategy in good time. Thanks to the historical data (1930-2000) shared by the FAO Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS-FAO), a joint INRA/CIRAD team was able to study the climate niche and distribution of the species during recessions, and envisage the effects of possible climate changes between now and 2050 or 2090, in line with two future climate scenarios.

The desert locust has two sub-species, one (currently the more dangerous from an agricultural point of view) north of the equator, and the other (lesser known) in southern Africa. The research results showed that although the two sub-species occupy different climate niches in their respective recession zones, they have kept their environmental niches throughout their evolution. This niche maintenance implies that were the climate in southern Africa to become more similar to that in the North, the sub-species from the South could become as dangerous as the one from the North. Moreover, in the light of climate change, the available large-scale forecasts suggest that the southern sub-species is likely to spread.

Source  : CIRAD

Annonce (Phys.org/news)

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