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Global impacts of potential plant disease epidemics: Wheat and Rice

Serge Savary: INRA

<div>The current challenges in feeding today’s world population can be examined in view of our understanding of the evolution of food production in history, from the Neolithic Revolutions, to the Green Revolution, to the present. Cereals, especially rice and wheat, play a pre-eminent role in ensuring global food security. These two crops are exposed to a number of grave plant diseases, which may in turn threaten global food security. These diseases may be associated with three broad, non-exclusive, epidemiological patterns: chronic, acute, or emerging. These three epidemiological patterns can affect differently the several components of food security, from production, to access, and to safety. The global impacts of plant diseases can be assessed through successive steps, including the use of epidemiological models to simulate potential epidemics, and the use of crop growth models including damage mechanisms to simulate yield losses. Scenario development and analysis constitute a powerful framework of investigation, since the inputs of these models can be driven by global change scenarios, which incorporate climate change scenarios. Analysing the impacts of plant disease epidemics has a range of applications, including the design of research strategies, the evaluation and guidance of policies, and improved management of plant diseases.</div>

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