Pests and diseases and climate change: Is there a connection?

Temperature and rainfall are the big drivers of shifts in how and where pests and diseases spread, according to experts.

Climate change is one factor driving the spread of pests and diseases, along with increasing global trade. Climate change can affect the population size, survival rate and geographical distribution of pests; and the intensity, development and geographical distribution of diseases.

“In general, an increase in temperature and precipitation levels favors the growth and distribution of most pest species by providing a warm and humid environment and providing necessary moisture for their growth,” says Tek Sapkota, agricultural systems and climate change scientist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).