27 November 1998

Pests on the rise?

HIGHER carbon dioxide levels forecast for the next century could mean any global warming gains from increased photosynthesis are lost to more pest activity.

Work at IACR-Rothamsted shows aphid populations increase more rapidly under raised carbon dioxide levels. For some crop/aphid combinations increased feeding will outweigh any gain in plant growth, it predicts.

However, it is not known what effect higher CO2 may have on aphid predators.