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Climate increasing the incidence of Leaf Rust

Avatar Posted on: 2017-02-16 3:45 PM
Paper Reviewed
Bebber, D.P., Castillo, A.D. and Gurr, S.J. 2017. Modeling coffee leaf rust risk in Columbia with climate reanalysis data. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 371: 20150458.
Each year, damage from fungal pathogens reduce global crop production by approximately one-fourth, losses that -- if prevented and recovered -- could feed hundreds of millions (Fisher et al., 2012). Despite efforts to reduce such damages, some have expressed the concern that they will only increase in the future in consequence of CO2-induced climate change, where it is predicted that rising temperatures and changes in moisture content will favor pathogen expansion and virulence (Anderson et al., 2014; Bebber, 2015).
But is there any evidence to support such predictions? A recent study by Bebber et al. (2017) suggests there is not, at least when testing the hypothesis "that climate change increased the likelihood of the 2008-2011 outbreak of coffee leaf rust in Columbia."
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