The objective of the study was to assess the impact of climate change on the spatial distribution of leafminer agromyzid pest over Limpopo province, South Africa. In the study the Conformal Cubic Atmospheric Model (CCAM) simulated climate scenarios; (a) the current climatology (1981-2010), (b) projected near future climatology (2041-2070) and (c) the projected distant future climatology (2071-2100) was used. In particular, the linkage between the model simulated temperature and the pest population parameters (that is, the intrinsic rate of increase (rm), net reproduction (ro), mean generation time (tg)) was modeled by empirical functions based on laboratory temperature measurements. The empirical functions (derived from the correlation between temperature and rm, o as well as tg) are used to simulate spatial distribution of leafminer agromyzid pest under changing climate. The present analysis illustrates that leafminer agromyzid pest and climatic factors exhibit a non-linear relationship best described by polynomial function of order two while in general, the influence of climate change on the spatial distribution of leafminer agromyzid pest over Limpopo province is noticeable. This work contributes towards our understanding of the impact of climate change on the population dynamics of leafminer agromyzid pest and hence impacts on tomato production in Limpopo province, South Africa.
Key words: tomato pests, leafminer, climatic variables, Limpopo province.
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