Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Climate change will likely threaten crop yield

Climate change will not only bring more frequent extreme weather events and cause significant sea level rise but is also very likely to threaten crop yield which could in years to come lead to even more hunger in the world. This is because climate change will likely make plants more sensitive to infectious diseases.

Many scientists such as Dr Newton from the James Hutton Institute, Dundee, Scotland, are warning the world that fighting these infectious diseases will be the key in avoiding more hunger in years to come. Dr Newton believes that the best option to avoid the major threat to crop yield in years to come is to exploit diversity in crops because this increases resilience to microbes and other stresses caused by climate change.

In order to exploit diversity in crops scientists need to learn the complex interaction between microbes and plants and to "understand the dynamics of complex microbial communities and their interactions to be able to predict the likelihood of disease".

Knowing these interactions will be a key in improving the future crop production and probably the only way to reduce the climate change's negative impact on the price and availability of food.

According to the latest reports a successful pest and disease management was a main contributor in doubling the food production in the last 40 years, but on the other hand 10-16% of the global harvest is still lost because of different plant diseases. The increased climate change impact will likely give significant boost to micro-organisms that cause these diseases so science will no doubt have an extremely hard task to keep these pests away from the crops.

The well known climate change indicators such as higher temperatures and increased levels of carbon dioxide will not only affect existing plant microbes but also create the ideal conditions for the appearance of new microbes. Reliable crop production will likely be put under great jeopardy in years to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment