In 10 seconds? In a recent Digest, we covered how climate change in tandem with intensive agriculture decimates insects – which in turn cuts agricultural yields. Another recent study looks at the other side of the coin: how to model insect damage to crops – also linked to global warming.

So, what’s new in this study? The paper, in seeking to overcome earlier concerns about our knowledge limits on this topic, proposes a new model. It’s based on environmental variables of multiple characteristics of weather, soil, crop types, and land/crop management. These variables feed into the growth and development traits of both insects and crops which then influence each other. For insects, the life cycle of eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults is covered. For crops, attainable and actual yields are included for different plant parts. Damage to and economic losses from crops could then be calculated, although these tasks are not completed since they were not within the paper’s scope.

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