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Research, done between the universities of Exeter and Oxford, has found that thanks to climate change, crop pests are spreading into areas that were previously too cold for them.
BBC News reports that the researchers found that the crop pests were moving towards the north and south poles at around two miles a year. They were now able to expand to areas previously seen as too cold for them to survive in.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Dan Bebber from the University of Exeter, said, “Global food security is one of the major challenges we are going to face over the next few decades… We really don’t want to be losing any more of our crops than is absolutely necessary to pests and pathogens.”
Between 10 and 16 percent of world crops are lost because of disease outbreaks, and the rising temperature isn’t helping.
According to Reuters, the movement of crop pests may likely be faster than for many type of wild animals thanks to accidental help from people. Bebber added, “We believe the spread is driven to a large degree by global warming.”
The scientists looked at over 600 types of pests from around the world and noticed how much different their ranges shifted towards the poles by decades.
Professor Michael Singer, from Plymouth University and the University of Texas, commented on that pests move quicker often because of people. “They have to be mobile because humans are constantly ploughing or otherwise modifying their habitats.”
image: Wikimedia Commons