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Climate change: Better think ahead than lag behind

Early detection of the spread of pest insects

Climate change is here. In order to appraise and prepare for its impacts, Switzerland has brought together experts from a wide range of disciplines in the NCCS network. One of these experts is FiBL’s Sibylle Stöckli, who is working on predicting the spread of harmful organisms.

Marmorierte Baumwanze
Image: Agroscope (Arnaud Conne)

Unfortunately, climate change has already become reality. Temperatures are rising – in Switzerland by 0.39°C per decade since 1961 – with impacts including floods, summer droughts and the spread of non-native species. In order to assess the complex future consequences of climate change, Switzerland established the National Centre for Climate Services (NCCS) in 2015. It is a network that offers information on the past, present and future climate and the resulting impacts.

FiBL’s Sibylle Stöckli is involved in the NCCS, together with climatologists, geographers and agronomists from other institutes. Her role is to gather information on the future spread of invasive non-native pest insects. “We developed climate impact models that allow us to produce precise risk analyses for Switzerland despite the country’s very diverse topography. These analyses make it possible for us to fairly accurately predict whether a location’s climate allows for the long-term survival of a new type of pest insect,” says Sibylle Stöckli. “The findings are then used by farmers, advisors and specialist agencies to find out about adaptation measures in a timely manner and to develop possible plant protection strategies.”

Prognosis: The brown marmorated stink bug will conquer many new areas

The brown marmorated stink bug, a species introduced from Asia, causes major yield losses in fruit and vegetable crops. Together with partners in research, Sibylle Stöckli developed simulations which show that this invasive species will probably advance mainly to higher altitudes over the next thirty years and continue to expand its range in north-western Switzerland. Moreover, we may regularly see two or even three generations per year in the future. “This shows just how important it is today to think of tomorrow and to introduce early warning systems,” says Sibylle Stöckli.

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Contact

Dr. Sibylle Stöckli
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)
Ackerstrasse 113
5070 Frick
Switzerland