Climate change and crop protection

Agriculture is affected by climate change, with particularly adverse effects in developing countries. Climate change also influences the ecology of weeds, pests and disease, with possible implications for crop protection and pesticide use. Elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) influences plant growth and the nutritional quality of most plant species, with potential bottom up effects. Increased temperature causes migration of species northwards and into higher latitudes, while in the tropics higher temperatures might adversely affect specific pest species. However, an agro-ecosystem consists of more than the crops and the pests, natural enemies play a critical role in crop protection, and so far climate change research has largely neglected them. This paper reviews existing scientific literature about the ecological consequences of climate change and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide on weeds, pests (insects, mites, slugs and nematodes), diseases and their natural enemies (parasitoids, pathogens and predators). The objective was to investigate if there is any observable trend that could imply that pressure from weeds, pests and diseases might increase due to climate change and elevated carbon dioxide (CO2).

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