The costs of human-induced evolution in an agricultural system. Varah, A., Ahodo, K., Coutts, S., Hicks, H. L., Comont, D., Crook, L., Hull, R., Neve, P., Childs, D. Z., Freckleton, R. P., & Norris, K. Nature Sustainability, 3:63–71, Nature Publishing Group, January, 2020.
The costs of human-induced evolution in an agricultural system [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
Pesticides have underpinned significant improvements in global food security, albeit with associated environmental costs. Currently, the yield benefits of pesticides are threatened as overuse has led to wide-scale evolution of resistance. Yet despite this threat, there are no large-scale estimates of crop yield losses or economic costs due to resistance. Here, we combine national-scale density and resistance data for the weed Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass) with crop yield maps and a new economic model to estimate that the annual cost of resistance in England is \pounds0.4bn in lost gross profit (2014 prices), and annual wheat yield loss due to resistance is 0.8 million tonnes. A total loss of herbicide control against black-grass would cost \pounds1bn and 3.4 million tonnes of lost wheat yield annually. Worldwide, there are 253 herbicide-resistant weeds, so the global impact of resistance could be enormous. Our research provides an urgent case for national-scale planning to combat further evolution of resistance, and an incentive for policies focused on increasing yields through more sustainable food-production systems rather than relying so heavily on herbicides.
@article{lincoln46727,
          volume = {3},
           month = {January},
          author = {Alexa Varah and Kwadjo Ahodo and Shaun Coutts and Helen L. Hicks and David Comont and Laura Crook and Richard Hull and Paul Neve and Dylan Z. Childs and Robert P. Freckleton and Ken Norris},
           title = {The costs of human-induced evolution in an agricultural system},
       publisher = {Nature Publishing Group},
            year = {2020},
         journal = {Nature Sustainability},
             doi = {10.1038/s41893-019-0450-8},
           pages = {63--71},
        keywords = {ARRAY(0x5606d50604c8)},
             url = {https://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/id/eprint/46727/},
        abstract = {Pesticides have underpinned significant improvements in global food security, albeit with associated environmental costs. Currently, the yield benefits of pesticides are threatened as overuse has led to wide-scale evolution of resistance. Yet despite this threat, there are no large-scale estimates of crop yield losses or economic costs due to resistance. Here, we combine national-scale density and resistance data for the weed Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass) with crop yield maps and a new economic model to estimate that the annual cost of resistance in England is {\pounds}0.4bn in lost gross profit (2014 prices), and annual wheat yield loss due to resistance is 0.8 million tonnes. A total loss of herbicide control against black-grass would cost {\pounds}1bn and 3.4 million tonnes of lost wheat yield annually. Worldwide, there are 253 herbicide-resistant weeds, so the global impact of resistance could be enormous. Our research provides an urgent case for national-scale planning to combat further evolution of resistance, and an incentive for policies focused on increasing yields through more sustainable food-production systems rather than relying so heavily on herbicides.}
}

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