Implications of climate change for diseases, crop yields and food security


Accelerated climate change affects components of complex biological interactions differentially, often causing changes that are difficult to predict. Crop yield and quality are affected by climate change directly, and indirectly, through diseases that themselves will change but remain important. These effects are difficult to dissect and model as their mechanistic bases are generally poorly understood. A combination of integrated modelling from different disciplines and multi-factorial experimentation is needed to advance our understanding and prioritisation of the challenges. This will help prioritise breeding objectives. Food security brings in additional socio-economic, geographical and political factors. Enhancing resilience to the effects of climate change is important for all these systems and functional diversity, particularly in tolerance traits for abiotic and biotic stress, is one of the most effective targets for improved sustainability.

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We thank the Scottish Government Rural and Environmental Research and Analysis Directorate for funding through their Sustainable Agriculture—Plants research program.

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Correspondence to Adrian C. Newton.

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Newton, A.C., Johnson, S.N. & Gregory, P.J. Implications of climate change for diseases, crop yields and food security. Euphytica 179, 3–18 (2011) doi:10.1007/s10681-011-0359-4

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  • Resilience
  • Complex interactions
  • CO2
  • Ozone
  • Temperature
  • Extreme events
  • Quality