Researchers Design Simulation Tool To Predict Disease, Pest Spread

by Laura Oleniacz, North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a computer simulation tool to predict when and where pests and diseases will attack crops or forests, and also test when to apply pesticides or other management strategies to contain them.

“It’s like having a bunch of different Earths to experiment on to test how something will work before spending the time, money and effort to do it,” said the study’s lead author Chris Jones, research scholar at North Carolina State University’s Center for Geospatial Analytics.

In the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, researchers reported on their efforts to develop and test the tool, which they called “PoPS,” for the Pest or Pathogen Spread Forecasting Platform. Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, they created the tool to forecast any type of disease or pathogen, no matter the location.

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Read the Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment paper: