Insect threats to food security

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Science  31 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6405, pp. 846
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau7311

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Globally, one out of nine people suffers from chronic hunger, and undernourishment is growing (1). Global average surface temperatures are also rising and are projected to increase by 2° to 5°C this century, with negative impacts on agricultural production. Even today, despite substantial plant protection efforts, about one-third of crops are lost to insect pests, pathogens, and weeds. How will climate warming affect these crop losses on a global scale? On page 916 of this issue, Deutsch et al. (2) evaluate the impact of rising average surface temperatures on yield losses due to insects in wheat, maize, and rice, which are staple foods for billions of people. The results show that insects will cause significantly increased grain loss across many regions of a warmer world.