By Dr. Andy Dyer

In the race to feed the world’s seven billion humans, we're at a standstill. during the last century, now we have constructed more and more powerful and complicated insecticides, but in 2014, the common percent of U.S. vegetation misplaced to agricultural pests was once at the very least in 1944. to take advantage of a metaphor the sector of evolutionary biology borrowed from Alice in Wonderland, farmers needs to run ever quicker to stick within the similar place—i.e., produce an analogous yields.

With Chasing the crimson Queen, Andy Dyer deals the 1st booklet to use the pink Queen speculation to agriculture. He illustrates that once choice strain raises, species evolve in reaction, making a endless, perpetually-escalating pageant among predator (us) and prey (bugs and weeds). the result's farmers are stuck in a vicious cycle of chemical dependence, caught utilizing more and more risky and dear toxics to overcome again steadily resistant pests.

to wreck the cycle, we needs to examine the technology in the back of it. Dyer examines one of many world’s such a lot urgent difficulties as a organic case learn. He offers key ideas, from Darwin’s ideas of average choice to genetic edition and adaptive phenotypes. realizing the basics of ecology and biology is step one to “playing the purple Queen,” and escaping her unwinnable race. The book’s novel body can assist scholars, researchers, and policy-makers alike follow that wisdom to the serious job of accomplishing nutrition security.

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Additional resources for Chasing the Red Queen: The Evolutionary Race Between Agricultural Pests and Poisons

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2 million farming families in the United States today. However, the reality of the modern farming family is not quite as glamorous as that depicted on TV shows and advertisements. 13 Many if not most of these farmers do not farm as their primary economic activity. 14 Therefore, the vast majority of farms are small and are responsible for less than one quarter of total farm production. Also, 54 percent of all farms are in the category of “small non-commercial farms” and they produce only 1 percent of that 23 percent total production value.

Control means that the growth and expansion of the pest have been checked, but it never means that the pest has been eliminated from the landscape. In fact, the success of the control agent acts in the long run to check its own growth as well as that of the prey species. In this case, the moth nearly completely obliterated the population of cactus, but in so doing it eliminated its own food source. As the population of cactus was diminished, the size of the moth population necessarily followed suit.

The cacti were introduced about 1840 as ornamental species but escaped into the New South Wales and Queensland landscape, where they found a very suitable new home. By 1870, cacti were becoming enough of a problem that federal Prickly-Pear Destruction Acts were passed in 1886, 1901, and 1924. By 1920, cactus had converted 25 million hectares of a primarily sheepgrazing region to land considered almost worthless because of dense stands of one- to two-meter-tall cactus. b Within four years, the large expanses of cactus were reduced to rotting remains as the moth spread across the entire region.

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