Pests a Top Concern for USDA Northeast Climate Hub
David Hollinger, the director of the Northeast Climate Hub, recently visited Cornell University and highlighted opportunities for collaborative research.
“Hubs are the key USDA response to weather variability and climate change,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, who formed the network of regional hubs in 2014.
The seven regional USDA Climate Hubs deliver science-based climate adaptation information. They focus on current trends that are impacting growers right now rather than on longer time horizons.
“Farmers and growers need tools to deal with climate change now,” said Hollinger. “The impact of climate change on pests is a top concern for the Hub.”
The Northeast Climate Hub has envisioned a seven-pronged approach to help meet those needs:
• Develop partnerships with land-grant universities, USDA, and others to collectively assesses situations and develop products and materials.
• Identify priority research needs and collaboratively develop research proposals.
• Synthesize information and produce fact sheets, literature summaries, a partner capacity survey, and a Forest Adaptation Workbook for agriculture.
• Conduct assessments, including working with the US Global Change Research Program to identify assessment needs, responsibilities, and a timeline.
• Host a Greenhouse Gas Mitigation workshop and webinar series.
• Communicate using online media and robust digital content.
• Demonstrate examples of adaptation and mitigation through a network of field sites to show effective strategies in the Northeast region.
During the startup phase a knowledge gap has emerged.
“Our collaboration with the Northeast Climate Hub happens as we move into a new era in pest management,” said Steve Young, director of the Northeastern IPM Center. “I expect that climate change will lead to greater mobility of pests. Therefore, we need a carefully considered regional and national response.”
Despite the interest in finding ways to develop ecosystem resiliency and mitigate reduction of greenhouse gases, the Hub needs to identify more people with expertise in the region.
“We have the passion and interest to take forward the pest aspect of climate change,” said Hollinger. “We are actively looking for partners like the Northeastern IPM Center and its stakeholders.”