Data on the known distributions of almost 2,000 crop-destroying organisms in 195 countries were analysed in the first global assessment of the factors determining the distribution of crop pests.
Dr Dan Bebber and Professor Sarah Gurr, of Biosciences at the University of Exeter, found that if all countries had levels of scientific and technical capacity similar to the developed world, the number of pests reported would rise greatly and the true extent of the threat would be better understood.
Many developing countries are expected to harbour hundreds of unreported crop pests and diseases, based on current levels of agricultural productivity.
Around one sixth of the world’s agricultural production is lost to destructive organisms annually, with further losses post-harvest.
Crop pests are often introduced by human activities such as trade and travel, with the wealth of a country linked to the number of invasive species recorded there because – whilst growing rich through trade – they have also accidentally imported pests in agricultural produce.
Read more at: Phys.org