Crop Vulnerability

Crop vulnerability is susceptibility to an epidemiologically competent parasite which, however, is absent from the agro-ecosystem in question. The crop is vulnerable because the absent parasite might be imported at any time. The vulnerability would then be manifested, and potential damage would become actual damage.

Crop vulnerability can result from an absent species of parasite, or from an absent vertical pathotype of a parasite. In the manifestation of the former category, there will be an entirely new crop protection problem. In the latter, there will be a failure of vertical resistance.

The economic and social consequences of crop vulnerability can vary from the trivial to the catastrophic. Examples of catastrophic vulnerabilities in Europe were those of blight (Phytophthora infestans) and Colorado beetle (Leptinotarsa decimlineata) of potatoes, and Phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae) and downy mildew (Plasmopora viticola) of grapes.

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