Heavy Livestock Grazing Promotes Locust Outbreaks by Lowering Plant Nitrogen Content

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Science  27 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6067, pp. 467-469
DOI: 10.1126/science.1214433

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Locust Heaven

Locust outbreaks have severe consequences for agriculture, but the conditions that promote an outbreak are unknown. Cease et al. (p. 467) investigated aspects of the locust diet and found that increased nitrogen content of cereal grasses reduced the size and viability of a herbivorous locust species. This locust prefers low N plants, which result from heavy grazing by livestock and erosion.