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News Link • Climate Change

Climate Change Fueling Spread of Crop-Killing Pests and Disease: Study

• http://www.commondreams.org, Jacob Chamberlain
 Diseases and pests that feed on crops are increasing at an alarming rate, decimating harvests in larger areas, adding to the long list of climate change factors that are threatening global food security, a study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change warns.

According to the researchers, crop pests are spreading further towards the poles at an average rate of two miles per year.

Among the reasons for this trend, the researchers found that warmer temperatures towards the far north and south, and at higher altitudes, are creating conditions conducive to the crop killers in larger areas.

The researchers pointed to the global crop trade, which more easily spreads invasive species around the world as one of the main factors, but said that climate change has exacerbated the problem.

"The most convincing hypothesis is that global warming has caused this shift," Dr Dan Bebber from the University of Exeter and lead author of the study told BBC News. "We detect a shift in their distribution away form the equator and towards the poles."

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