Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Alternatives to methyl bromide soil fumigation for vegetable and floriculture production Title: Impact of Climate Change on Plant Disease

Authors
item Rosskopf, Erin
item Adkins, Scott
item Jones, Roger -

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: September 12, 2012
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Plant pathogen responses to climate change must be considered within the context of the “disease triangle” in which the pathogen, the host, and the environment are intrinsically connected. In addition to the very basic components being conducive for plant disease to occur, plant pathogens are impacted by multi-trophic interactions that make predictions regarding their movement, incidence, severity, and evolution very complex. Under current climate conditions, even with efforts to manage disease in place, crop losses to pathogens are still a significant impediment to crop production. Pathogen growth and reproduction can be evaluated independently with regard to the epidemiological parameters necessary for disease development, ie. cardinal temperatures, responses to individual atmospheric influences, etc. These impacts have been determined for many fungal and bacterial pathogens, leading to weather-based decision-support models designed to address seasonal production issues and disease management protocols. In one of the first comprehensive reviews (1999) of the potential impacts of climate change on plant disease, it was recognized that there would most certainly be impacts on plant disease as a result of climate change and that these impacts could take place at many levels of complexity, but that generalizations would be difficult to make. More than ten years later, this still holds true, although significant progress has been made in defining the parameters that may drive plant disease processes in a changing climate.

Technical Abstract: Plant pathogen responses to climate change must be considered within the context of the “disease triangle” in which the pathogen, the host, and the environment are intrinsically connected. In addition to the very basic components being conducive for plant disease to occur, plant pathogens are impacted by multi-trophic interactions that make predictions regarding their movement, incidence, severity, and evolution very complex. Under current climate conditions, even with efforts to manage disease in place, crop losses to pathogens are still a significant impediment to crop production. Pathogen growth and reproduction can be evaluated independently with regard to the epidemiological parameters necessary for disease development, ie. cardinal temperatures, responses to individual atmospheric influences, etc. These impacts have been determined for many fungal and bacterial pathogens, leading to weather-based decision-support models designed to address seasonal production issues and disease management protocols. In one of the first comprehensive reviews (1999) of the potential impacts of climate change on plant disease, it was recognized that there would most certainly be impacts on plant disease as a result of climate change and that these impacts could take place at many levels of complexity, but that generalizations would be difficult to make. More than ten years later, this still holds true, although significant progress has been made in defining the parameters that may drive plant disease processes in a changing climate.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page