Submitted to: Advances in Applied Acridology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 18, 2002
Publication Date: April 24, 2002
Citation: Showler, A. 2002. Research on desert locusts: Room for improvement. In: Lockwood, J., Latchininsky, A., editors. Advances in Applied Acridology. Laramie, WY: Association for Applied Acridology International. p. 19-22. Interpretive Summary: The general paucity of research on desert locusts during the past decade is ironic in view of the common perception of the pest as an ancient source of pestilence that can still reach "Biblical proportions" and is most often associated with the adjectives "scourge," "plague," and "devastating." Obstacles to scientifically rigorous desert locust research are mostly related to priorities of key stakeholders and accessibility to field populations at critical times when swarming begins. Ways of surmounting some of the obstacles to improving research on desert locusts are discussed.
Technical Abstract: Desert locusts, Schistocerca gregaria Forskal, are an ancient pest problem that can cause devastating crop losses at local levels on cross-regional and intercontinental scales. In spite of the apparent importance of desert locusts and the availability of funds for conducting research on the biology, monitoring and control of desert locusts, there has been a paucity yof scientifically rigorous research and reporting in peer-reviewed journals. This lack of solid scientific research has resulted from combinations of factors that can be attributed to how desert locust research is prioritized by desert locust-affected countries, donor countries, and researchers themselves. Access to field research situations are also limited by the sporadic nature of gregarious desert locust populations, geographically remote breeding areas, armed conflict in critical places, and lack of liaison between research entities in the desert locust-affected countries and well established research entities in so-called developed countries. Ways of surmounting some of the obstacles to improving research on desert locusts are discussed.