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Climate change exacerbates the challenge of plant pests

Pests are major causes of crop yield losses. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), between 20 and 40 percent of global crop yields are reduced each year due to damage caused by plant pests (insects and diseases).

Climate change is exacerbating food insecurity, and its negative impacts will worsen over time. This is happening via several pathways, among which plant pests are a leading cause. In fact, there are many possible pathways through which climate change may impact plant pests, including ecology, spatial distribution, and food chains.

Climate change may induce higher metabolic, developmental, survival, and reproductive rates in plant pests. For example, the main effect of temperature in temperate regions may be seen in winter survival. Non-diapausing, frost-sensitive species and those that are able to overwinter in their active stages, such as the aphid Myzus persicae, show increased winter survival in warm winters.

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