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A global assessment of the state of plant health
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The Global Plant Health Assessment (GPHA) is a collective, volunteer-based effort to assemble expert opinions on plant health and disease impacts on ecosystem services based on published scientific evidence. The GPHA considers a range of forest, agricultural, and urban systems worldwide. These are referred to as [Ecoregion × Plant System], i.e., selected case examples involving keystone plants in given parts of the world. The GPHA focuses on infectious plant diseases and plant pathogens, but encompasses the abiotic (e.g., temperature, drought, and floods) and other biotic (e.g., animal pests, and humans) factors associated with plant health. Among the 33 [Ecoregion × Plant System] considered, 18 are assessed as in fair or poor health, and 20 as in declining health. Much of the observed state of plant health and its trends are driven by a combination of forces, including climate change, species invasions, and human management. Healthy plants ensure (1) provisioning (food, fiber, and material), (2) regulation (climate, atmosphere, water, and soils), and (3) cultural (re-creation, inspiration, and spiritual) ecosystem services. All these roles that plants play are threatened by plant diseases. Nearly none of these three ecosystem services are assessed as improving. Results indicate that the poor state of plant health in sub-Saharan Africa gravely contributes to food insecurity and environmental degradation. Results further call for the need to improve crop health to ensure food security in the most populated parts of the world, such as in South Asia, where the poorest of the poor, the landless farmers, are at greatest risk. The overview of results generated from this work enables identifying directions for future research to be championed by a new generation of scientists and revived public extension services. Breakthrough from science is needed to (i) gather more data on plant health and its consequences, (ii) identify collective actions to manage plant systems, (iii) exploit the phytobiome diversity in breeding programs, (iv) breed for plant genotypes with resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses, and (v) design and implement plant systems involving the diversity required to ensure their adaptation to current and growing challenges, including climate change and pathogen invasions.
Multi standard citation
Permanent link to this itemhttps://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12478/8295
IITA Authors ORCID
P. Lava Kumarhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4388-6510
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)