University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-206
Number of pages20
JournalPlant Pathology
Early online date20 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


Abstract: Crop diseases affect crop yield and quality and cause significant losses of total food production worldwide. With the ever‐increasing world population and decreasing land and water resources, there is a need not only to produce more food but also to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to mitigate climate change and avoid land use change and biodiversity loss. Thus, alternative climate‐smart farming systems need to adapt to produce more food per hectare in a more sustainable way than conventional high‐input farming systems. In addition to breeding new high‐yielding cultivars adapted to future climates, there is a need to deploy Integrated Crop Management (ICM) strategies, relying less on synthetic inputs for fertilization and crop protection and less on fossil fuel‐powered machinery to decrease yield losses due to pest and pathogens and guarantee food security. In this review, we compare some low‐input farming systems to conventional agricultural systems with a focus on ICM solutions being developed to reduce synthetic inputs; these include crop genetic resistance to pathogens, intercropping, canopy architecture manipulation, and crop rotation. These techniques have potential to decrease crop disease frequency and severity by decreasing amounts and dispersal of pathogen inoculum and by producing microclimates that are less favourable for pathogen development, while decreasing GHG emissions and improving environmental sustainability. More research is needed to determine the best deployment of these ICM strategies in various cropping systems to maximize yield, crop protection, and other ecosystem services to address trade‐offs between climate change and food security.


© 2021 The Authors. Plant Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Society for Plant Pathology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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