The impact of climate change on tri-trophic interactions and crop production
A major goal in agroecology is to sustainably maximize crop yield while minimizing pest damage. One way to accomplish this is utilizing the highly coevolved tritrophic interactions between crops, pests, and the natural enemies of those pests. With anthropogenic changes to global climate; however, there is an increased potential to alter these interactions. We investigated the effect of increasing carbon dioxide and temperature on crop yield of a common agricultural ecosystem: the cabbage species Brassica oleracea, specialized cabbage aphid Brevicoryne brassicae, and parasitic natural enemy Diaeretiella rapae. To evaluate crop yield under varying carbon dioxide and temperature conditions, an agent-based model was created using Netlogo. Percent crop loss, maximum pest population, and rate of parasitism were analyzed under three different temperature and carbon dioxide conditions: preindustrial, current, and 2050 projected. Crop loss was most significant at projected 2050 temperature and CO2 conditions, with an 18.71 ± 6.86% increase in crop loss compared to preindustrial times, and a 10.63 ± 7.73% increase compared to current conditions. Brevicoryne brassicae population sizes steadily increased from preindustrial times, while the rate of parasitism (proportion of Brevicoryne brassicae parasitized per day) remained constant under all three climate conditions. Our model predicts anthropogenic climate change will exacerbate crop loss over time, likely due to projected pest population increases, unless mitigative measures are implemented.
Keywords: climate change, carbon dioxide, temperature, tri-trophic, agroecosystem, crop yield, biological control, pest management
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).