Invasive insects and plant diseases already cause nearly $300 billion in annual losses for the world's farmers, but climate change could make that worse by making many areas more hospitable to pests, according to a new report from the International Plant Protection Convention, hosted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization,
"Warmer and drier conditions favor disturbances by insects, whereas warmer and wetter conditions favor disturbances from pathogens," said the report. "The same trend is expected for many crop diseases, insect pests, and weeds, with increasing pest risk in most cases. Thus preventive, mitigation, and adaptation measures are needed in the future to reduce the projected increases in pest risk in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry as well as in urban areas and national parks."
For example, global warming will expand the territory for pests like the fall armyworm, which eats corn, sorghum, and other grains, according to the report, Chuck Abbott reports for the Food & Environment Reporting Network.