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Title: The potential impacts of climate change on diseases affecting strawberries and the UK strawberry industry
Author: Calleja, Eman J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 9855
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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The impact of climate change on plant disease is an important concern for agriculture. Tools from natural and social science are used in this interdisciplinary study in an innovative way to assess potential impacts on the UK strawberry sector. Records of agricultural statistics and disease incidence covering a 90-year period were analysed to study agricultural change and the past influence of disease on the sector. Future change in potential disease incidence was then modelled for three of the most common diseases by building probabilistic projections for 2020 to 2080 using the UKCP09 scenarios. Using these disease scenarios, data were collected from strawberry growers, through a national survey and case study work in two contrasting areas of strawberry production, covering around 40% of the UK sector. A number of major outcomes were obtained. The introduction of polytunnels was seen as the most important influence on change in the sector, tripling crop yields and reducing the climatic impact on yield variability. Disease was found to vary spatially and temporally throughout the country, emphasizing the need for development of resistant cultivars, use of pesticides and a change in cultivation methods. Changes in future disease incidence were predicted for all three pathogens, with a high degree of spatial variation. The outcome suggests that the UK Strawberry sector may be vulnerable, not only to the impacts of plant disease, which has affected both the distribution of the sector throughout the UK and profitability of some of the businesses, but especially to pressures arising from other factors such as labour and decreasing profit margins. When coupling these with important policy changes such as the change in the EU Pesticides Directive, a challenging picture emerges for the future of the sector in the UK. Lesson learned from this sector may be applicable to other sectors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Great Britain. Dept. for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) ; Great Britain. Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: SB Plant culture