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Potential impacts of recent climate change on biological control agents in agro-ecosystem: A review

Abstract

S. Selvaraj, P. Ganeshamoorthi and T. Pandiaraj3

Global climate change is a change in the long-term weather patterns that characterize the regions of the world. It is evident from increase in global average temperature, changes in the rainfall pattern and extreme climatic events. The impacts of warming can already be observed in many places, from rising sea levels to melting snow and ice to changing weather patterns. Climate change is already affecting agro-ecosystems, freshwater supplies and human health. These seasonal and long term changes would affect the fauna, flora and population dynamics of insect pests, activity and abundance of natural enemies, species extinction and efficacy of crop protection technologies. The abiotic parameters are known to have direct impact on insect population dynamics and direct and indirect impact on biocontrol agents through modulation of developmental rates, survival, fecundity, parasitism and dispersal. The abundance and activity of natural enemies will be altered through adaptive management strategies adopted by farmers to cope with climate change. These strategies may lead to a mismatch between pests and enemies in space and time, decreasing their effectiveness for biological control. Climate change will also reduce the effectiveness of host plant resistance; transgenic plants used for pest management. Hence, there is a need to generate information on the likely effects of climate change on natural enemies to develop robust technologies that will be effective in future pest management strategies.

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