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The impact of global change on the emergence of plant diseases and pests in Europe

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News of 18/04/2018

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), in collaboration with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), is organising a conference on 23-24 April 2018 in Paris. This two-day event will review the current state of scientific knowledge worldwide and provide a forum for sharing experiences on the reasons for the emergence of plant diseases and pests, as well as their impact on the environment.

Today, global change no longer refers only to global warming resulting from human activities. It also is the result of other planet-wide phenomena caused by societal changes such as the intensification of global trade, modifications in agricultural production systems and changes in consumer trends.

The circulation of plant material promotes the de facto circulation of pests and diseases – regardless of the mode of transport, or whether or not the plant material is for commercial purposes.

France, as a geographical crossroads, is faced with the establishment of plant pests and diseases from neighbouring countries, and from overseas, which find climatic conditions in metropolitan France suitable to their rapid development. The same phenomenon can now be seen on the European level with, for example, the establishment of tropical diseases in the Mediterranean area.

The evolution of public policy with regard to agriculture triggers interrogation as to the role played by human intervention and tends to favour an agro-ecological approach, with the reduction of chemical inputs. These approaches also have a potential impact on the emergence of diseases and pests, as well as on the measures used to control them. 

This two-day conference will bring together researchers, public decision-makers and representatives of all stakeholders in the relevant fields, and will address possible causes of the emergence of plant diseases and pests, as well as their impact on the environment.

The event will finish with a round-table discussion on how to address the emergence of these plant diseases and pests in order to respond effectively to the challenges of an agriculture of tomorrow, respectful of flora and fauna.