Global Warming

Global warming will open up Russia’s Far North to agriculture

The global climate crisis has a silver lining for Russia at least. Over the next two or three decades large swathes of Russia’s frozen northern regions will become warm enough to grow crops, according to the Natural Resources and Environment Minister.

Russia’s permafrost is melting and temperatures in the Far North are rising two and half times faster than elsewhere in the world. That is bad news for the dozen cities located there since Soviet times that focus on extracting raw materials, and will cause hundreds of billions of dollars of damage, according to a series of studies, but it will also raise temperatures for farmers.

As Siberia warms it will be able to produce all the straw cereals – wheat, barley, triticale, rye, etc., but also feed corn, grain corn and even soybeans, by the end of the century. With several harvests per year. Russia’s grain potential could jump from 100-150mn tonnes of grain per year today to 1bn tpy in 2080, according to experts.

Wildlife

USA ‘Wildlife Services’ Killers

The arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed approximately 1.2 million native animals in 2019, according to new data released by the program this week.

The multimillion-dollar federal wildlife-killing program targets wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals for destruction, primarily to benefit the agriculture industry in states like Texas, Colorado and Idaho. Of the 2.2 million animals killed last year, approximately 1.2 million were native wildlife species.

According to the latest report, the federal program last year intentionally killed 301 gray wolves; 61,882 adult coyotes, plus an unknown number of coyote pups in 251 destroyed dens; 364,734 red-winged blackbirds; 393 black bears; 300 mountain lions; 777 bobcats; 124 river otters plus 489 killed “unintentionally”; 2,447 foxes, plus an unknown number of red fox pups in 94 dens; and 24,543 beavers.

The program also killed 14,098 prairie dogs outright, as well as an unknown number killed in more than 35,226 burrows that were destroyed or fumigated. These figures almost certainly underestimate the actual number of animals killed, as program insiders have revealed that Wildlife Services kills many more animals than it reports.

According to the new data, the wildlife-killing program unintentionally killed more than 2,624 animals in 2019, including bears, bobcats, mountain lions, a wolf, foxes, muskrats, otters, porcupines, raccoons and turtles. Its killing of non-target birds included ducks, eagles, swallows, herons and turkeys.

Global Warming

Climate Change Threatening Kenya’s Smallholder Farm Crop Production

In sub-Saharan Africa, climate change is seen as a threat to food security because of the region’s dependence on rain-fed agriculture. In Kenya alone, the Ministry of Agriculture estimates that, in the past year, the adverse effects of climate change resulted in losses of more than 50 percent of the yield of major crops, with smallholder farmers bearing the greatest hardships.

Global Warming

Global Warming Helps Pests and Diseases to Spread

Climate change is helping pests and diseases that attack crops to spread around the world, a study suggests. Crop pests are moving at an average of 3km (two miles) a year. They are heading towards the north and south poles, and are establishing in areas that were once to cold for them to live in.

Currently, it is estimated that between 10% and 16% of the world’s crops are lost to disease outbreaks. The researchers warn that rising global temperatures could make the problem worse. “Global food security is one of the major challenges we are going to face over the next few decades. We really don’t want to be losing any more of our crops than is absolutely necessary to pests and pathogens.”

612 crop pests and pathogens from around the world had been collected over the past 50 years. These included fungi, such as wheat rust, which is devastating harvests in Africa, the Middle East and Asia; insects like the mountain pine beetle that is destroying trees in the US; as well as bacteria, viruses and microscopic nematode worms.

Each organism’s distribution was different – some butterflies and insects were shifting quickly, at about 20km (12 miles) a year; other bacterium species had hardly moved. On average, however, the pests had been spreading by 3km each year since 1960. “We detect a shift in their distribution away from the equator and towards the poles.”

The researchers believe that the global trade in crops is mainly responsible for the movement of pests and pathogens from country to country. However, the organisms can only take hold in new areas if the conditions are suitable, and the researchers believe that warming temperatures have enabled the creature to survive at higher latitudes.

“The most convincing hypothesis is that global warming has caused this shift. One example is the Colorado potato beetle. Warming appears to have allowed it to move northwards through Europe to into Finland and Norway where the cold winters would normally knock the beetle back.”

The researchers said that better information about where the pests and pathogens were and where they were moving was needed to fully assess the scale of the problem. “We also need to protect our borders, we have to quarantine plants to reduce the chances that pests and pathogens are able to get into our agricultural systems.”

Global Warming

Global Warming Helps Pests and Diseases to Spread

Climate change is helping pests and diseases that attack crops to spread around the world, a study suggests. Crop pests are moving at an average of 3km (two miles) a year. They are heading towards the north and south poles, and are establishing in areas that were once to cold for them to live in.

Currently, it is estimated that between 10% and 16% of the world’s crops are lost to disease outbreaks. The researchers warn that rising global temperatures could make the problem worse. “Global food security is one of the major challenges we are going to face over the next few decades. We really don’t want to be losing any more of our crops than is absolutely necessary to pests and pathogens.”

612 crop pests and pathogens from around the world had been collected over the past 50 years. These included fungi, such as wheat rust, which is devastating harvests in Africa, the Middle East and Asia; insects like the mountain pine beetle that is destroying trees in the US; as well as bacteria, viruses and microscopic nematode worms.

Each organism’s distribution was different – some butterflies and insects were shifting quickly, at about 20km (12 miles) a year; other bacterium species had hardly moved. On average, however, the pests had been spreading by 3km each year since 1960. “We detect a shift in their distribution away from the equator and towards the poles.”

The researchers believe that the global trade in crops is mainly responsible for the movement of pests and pathogens from country to country. However, the organisms can only take hold in new areas if the conditions are suitable, and the researchers believe that warming temperatures have enabled the creature to survive at higher latitudes.

“The most convincing hypothesis is that global warming has caused this shift. One example is the Colorado potato beetle. Warming appears to have allowed it to move northwards through Europe to into Finland and Norway where the cold winters would normally knock the beetle back.”

The researchers said that better information about where the pests and pathogens were and where they were moving was needed to fully assess the scale of the problem. “We also need to protect our borders, we have to quarantine plants to reduce the chances that pests and pathogens are able to get into our agricultural systems.”