Understanding climate change and rising locust outbreak risks in Pakistan

Understanding climate change and rising locust outbreak risks in Pakistan

Publication details

  • Thursday | 20 Aug, 2020
  • Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Kashif Majeed Salik
  • COVID-19 Policy Review Series
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Abstract The relationship between climate change and locust outbreak is not well-established. However, a recent increase in frequency and intensity of locust outbreak highlights some associations with increasing (sea and surface) temperatures, rainfall patterns, and humidity. The association of climate parameters is also linked to locust mobility, morbidity, and survival. These linkages have serious implications on the propagation of locust breeding and spread that occur within and outside Pakistani borders. It has put national food security and rural economy at risk. In this regard, active surveillance is the key to prevention and effective management of locust control, which is limited in Pakistan, particularly in the wake of climate change. Some policy options include formation of a team of professionals for understanding climate changes causal linkages, domestic, eco-friendly, green and sustainable solutions with regard to desert locust control and use of GIS and remote sensing techniques for effective monitoring of locust mobility patterns. Moreover, developing a ‘Locust manual’ describing role and responsibilities of key stakeholders as well as for the active involvement and training of locals and allocation of essential financial and human resources for timely field surveillance and control. There is a need to focus on remote locust breeding grounds such as deserts where surveillance is either negligible or non-existent due to access or security issues.