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Desert locusts: New risks in the light of climate change

Desert locusts are a major pest on numerous crops and pastures throughout a vast area of almost 30 million km2 covering Africa north of the equator, the Near East, the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent. Like other locusts, desert locusts can switch from a solitary phase with low population densities during recessions (periods of calm), to a gregarious phase with high population densities during invasions, when hopper bands and swarms can devastate agriculture.

The importance of the pest has necessitated the implementation of a prevention strategy led by numerous national surveillance and control centres in affected countries. In a global level, those centres are coordinated by the FAO in Rome, which has an information service in charge of monitoring the situation throughout the insect's distribution area and forecasting the risks of outbreaks and invasions. This early warning and prevention system has succeeded in reducing the extent of invasions in most agricultural areas.

JB Dodane

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