New research links crop disease and climate change

Feb 28, 2012

Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire have investigated links between crop disease and climate change which impact our food growth and production - affecting our food security today and for future generations. The team of researchers led by Professor Bruce Fitt, at the University of Hertfordshire, in collaboration with Professor Jon West at Rothamsted Research and Dr. Rob Carlton of Carlton Consultancy, describe their investigations in two papers to be published in a special edition of European Journal of Plant Pathology.

“Currently, there is considerable debate about climate change adaptation and mitigation in relation to controlling crop disease, while also maintaining sufficient food production,” said Professor Fitt, a leading authority on plant pathology. “Government policy and the agricultural industry need to prepare for the impacts of climate change particularly where food production is likely to be adversely affected. Strategies for adaptation to climate change are needed to maintain good disease control and crop yields while at the same time decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The research team used a novel approach of comparing pathogen biology to review environmental factors that influence the severity of crop disease epidemics. This assessed the effects of climate change on crop diseases and, ultimately, the crop yield. The team also found that good crop disease control contributed to mitigation by decreasing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

In further research on control, the team compared greenhouse gas emissions and crop production associated with selected arable systems. Results showed that conventional crop production, combined with reduced tillage cultivation, is generally the best for producing high crop yields. This contributes to global and minimising greenhouse gas emissions.

Explore further: Decrease of genetic diversity in the endangered Saimaa ringed seal continues

More information: The full research papers can be viewed online at the European Journal of Plant Pathology at bit.ly/wKKJbW

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Combating plant diseases is key for sustainable crops

Apr 12, 2011

Climate change is likely to make plants more vulnerable to infectious disease, which will threaten crop yield and impact on the price and availability of food. Dr Adrian Newton, presenting his work at the ...

High yield crops keep carbon emissions low

Jun 14, 2010

The Green Revolution of the late 20th century increased crop yields worldwide and helped feed an expanding global population. According to a new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it als ...

Switchgrass as bioenergy feedstock

Dec 09, 2011

Scientists examined current knowledge about the potential contributions of bioenergy production from switchgrass to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Their findings, published in GCB Bioenergy, conclude that the use of swi ...

Recommended for you

How can we help endangered vultures?

4 hours ago

Zoologists from the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin are proposing an ingenious idea to help conserve populations of African white-backed vultures. The iconic birds, which play a critical ...

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

4 hours ago

Amargosa voles, small rodents that inhabit rare marshes of the Mojave Desert, have faced dire circumstances in recent years. Loss of habitat, extreme drought and climate change brought this subspecies of ...

Sex-loving, meat-eating reptiles have shorter lives

6 hours ago

The health risks and benefits of vegetarianism have long been discussed in relation to the human diet, but newly published research reveals that it's definitely of benefit to the reptile population. That, ...

US charges safari owners with illegal rhino hunts

18 hours ago

Two South African men were charged Thursday by the US government with conspiracy to sell illegal rhinoceros hunts to American hunters, money laundering and secretly trafficking in rhino horns.

User comments : 0