Chinese researchers release reports on desert locusts in Asia and Africa

Photo taken on Feb. 4, 2020 shows a cloud of locusts flying in Mwingi North, Kenya. A number of East African countries are suffering serious locust infestation, with Kenya experiencing its worst in 70 years, which, if left unchecked, could grow 500 times in scale by June, a UN spokesman said Friday. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, said besides Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are undergoing their worst locust infestation in 25 years, and that Djibouti, Eritrea, Uganda and Tanzania are also experiencing swarm activity and locust breeding, while the risk of spread to South Sudan is high. (Xinhua/Fred Mutune)

Chinese researchers have released a series of reports on monitoring desert locusts in Asia and Africa in order to offer early warnings, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Researchers from the Aerospace Information Research Institute of the CAS drafted a report on the core breeding areas and migration path of desert locusts in Asia and Africa between 2018 and 2020, as well as assessment of losses to agriculture and animal husbandry caused by desert locusts in hard-hit countries including Pakistan, Ethiopia and Kenya.

They analyzed data generated by China’s Gaofen series satellites, Landsat from the United States and European Space Agency’s Sentinel. They combined the data with global meteorological data and plant protection survey figures and processed the information with pest prediction model and big data analysis on the digital earth science platform.

The reports help decision-making in pest control, and offer spatial information technology support for international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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