Pests & Disease

Weeds, insects, and diseases already have large negative impacts on our natural resources (agricultural lands/livestock, forests, recreational areas) and human health. There is mounting evidence that climate change will exacerbate these negative impacts. Ongoing increases in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns will induce new conditions that will affect insect populations, incidence of pathogens, and the geographic distribution of insects, weeds and diseases. Elevated CO2 boosts weed growth, adding to the potential for increased competition between crops and weeds. Projected increases in the frequency and severity of drought events will likely result in greater tree mortality from insects as water stress reduces a tree’s ability to defend again boring insects. Climate change is also expected to affect the geographical distribution and incidence of vector-borne diseases in the United States including increased risk of Lyme disease. Given the economic, ecological, and public health impacts of these pests, further research is needed to better understand the interactions among climate change, land-use patterns, and pest impacts and how best to mitigate the negative impacts.

The Environmental Law & Policy Center, in concert with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, commissioned the following scientists and experts to produce this report to educate policymakers and the public about the significant changes affecting the Great Lakes, and the…

As the climate changes, regions that were once too cold for some tree species to grow are now becoming suitable habitat. At the same time, other regions are becoming too warm for certain cold-hardy species to thrive. Many orchards and farms in the Northeast are coping with…

The Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica Newman) is a highly destructive plant pest of foreign origin. It was first found in the United States in 1916 and has since spread to most states east of, and immediately to the west of, the Mississippi River. It has also spread to some…

Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) is an annual plant in the pigweed family (Amaranthaceae). It is native to the southwest United States/northern Mexico deserts and is currently increasing its range across the country. Palmer amaranth: Is fast growing (2 to 3 inches…

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, originally from East Asia, is an invasive pest that is present throughout much of the United States. You may have noticed this nuisance pest in your home (see picture). It is attracted to the outside of houses on warm…

Climate change poses both risks and opportunities for Northeast growers. A trend toward shorter, milder winters leads to longer growing seasons and potential for new crops and varieties for local markets. However, these seasonal shifts may also benefit many insect pests and be…

The Reforestation Dialogues and Symposium, a two-day event held in November 2018 organized by U.S. Forest Service Region 5 and the USDA California Climate Hub, was designed to promote co-concept generation and co-production around the current challenges and opportunities related…

A Study of On-Farm Decision Making in an Era of Climate Change Climate forecasts suggest farmers in the Northeast will be faced with both challenges and opportunities. Currently, farmers and other land stewards manage the risks created by changeable weather patterns in many…

How are climate change and weather variability affecting Northeastern producers? Farmers, foresters, and other land owners in the Northeast are already feeling the pressures of a changing climate and increasing weather variability. In recent years the Northeast has experienced…