Farming sites have 20 times more plague pests than unused sites

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Farming in unused lands may cause plague

by Sam Otieno

Speed read

  • In East Africa, farming in conserved lands has increased by 70 per cent
  • A study shows farming sites have 20 times more plague pests than unused sites
  • An expert says strategies such as integrated land use could help reduce plague

Expanding croplands to wildlands to help meet food demands may significantly increase the risk of plague in East Africa, according to a study.

Researchers from Tanzania and the United States say in East Africa, use of conserved lands for agriculture has expanded by 70 per cent in the last decades, but evidence that such a growth could increase plague risk in the region is lacking.

Therefore, they selected northern Tanzania, which has experienced regular outbreaks of plague and sampled rodents and their fleas during June-July 2011 for the activities of the bacterium that causes plague in six sites made up of pairs of conserved lands and areas converted for agriculture.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.