Adaptive pest management for horticulture under climate change pilot pest scoping
It is vital that Australia’s horticultural industries consider how their pest risks could be impacted by climate change as the scientific evidence has shown that indeed the climate is changing. We used two case studies to examine the nature of these changes and tried to identify, with the help of growers and consultants, the potential impacts and changes in management practices that might be required. The two case studies were silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) in Bundaberg and diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella). Both pests were modelled to explore how their climate suitability might change under climate change scenarios. We found that both pests could increase the number of lifecycles they can complete each year by approximately 50%. Our attempts to engage growers were difficult as there is clearly a general disbelief in climate change, and an unwillingness to consider possible future changes in growing conditions that could result from climate changes. In addition, there appeared to be a lack of uptake of the current recommended management practices. We have made 3 recommendatons: 1. Determine if it is feasible to make periodic assessments of pest densities (e.g. every 5 years) to monitor how pest abundance changes over time. 2. Investigate the reasons for poor adoption of existing pest management recommendations. 3. Improve grower understanding of the nature of climate changes and no regrets options for adapting management practices to changing conditions.