Insect pest scenario in Uttarakhand Himalayas, India, under changing climatic conditions.
The Himalayan mountains are early indicators of climate change, wherein slight changes in climate can lead to a drastic variation in faunal diversity, distribution, invasion of fauna into higher altitudes, rapid population growth, shortening of life cycle and increased number of overwintering species. The insects best represent the faunal diversity. In recent years, due to variation in pattern of rainfall and temperature regimes, several insect pests have moved northwards and are posing great threat to hill agriculture. Few among them are greenhouse whiteflies, thrips and mites in protected cultivation system; blister beetles on flowers of cereals, pulses and oilseeds; invasive insect pests like fall armyworm of maize and tomato pin worm and sporadic pests like grasshoppers that are reaching a status of major key pest in various crops. Keeping in mind the phenomenon of climate change and associated changes in pest population, the present article focuses on emerging insect pest problems in cereals, millets, pulses, oilseeds and vegetables of Indian Himalayas, along with their changing population density with respect to different climatic parameters, the per cent increase in the pest damage over the years and their potential of gaining the status of major pests in near future and causing huge economic losses to hill agriculture.