Fall armyworm integrated pest management

The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda J.E. Smith, has caused massive maize losses since its attack on the African continent in 2016, particularly in east Africa. In this study, we predicted the spatial distribution (established habitat) of FAW in five east African countries viz., Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ethiopia. We used FAW occurrence observations for three years i.e., 2018, 2019, and 2020, the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) model, and bioclimatic, land surface temperature (LST), solar radiation, wind speed, elevation, and landscape structure data (i.e., land use and land cover and maize harvested area) as explanatory variables. The explanatory variables were used as inputs into a variable selection experiment to select the least correlated ones that were then used to predict FAW establishment, i.e., suitability areas (very low suitability – very high suitability). The shared socio-economic pathways, SSP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5 for the years 2030 and 2050 were used to predict the effect of future climate scenarios on FAW establishment. The results demonstrated that FAW establishment areas in eastern Africa were based on the model strength and true performance (area under the curve: AUC = 0.87), but not randomly. Moreover, ~27% of eastern Africa is currently at risk of FAW establishment. Predicted FAW risk areas are expected to increase to ~29% (using each of the SPP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5 scenarios) in the year 2030, and to ~38% (using SSP2-4.5) and ~35% (using SSP5-8.5) in the year 2050 climate scenarios. The LULC, particularly croplands and maize harvested area, together with temperature and precipitation bioclimatic variables provided the highest permutation importance in determining the occurrence and establishment of the pest in eastern Africa. Specifically, the study revealed that FAW was sensitive to isothermality (Bio3) rather than being sensitive to a single temperature value in the year. FAW preference ranges of temperature, precipitation, elevation, and maize harvested area were observed, implying the establishment of a once exotic pest in critical maize production regions in eastern Africa. It is recommended that future studies should thus embed the present study’s modeling results into a dynamic platform that provides near-real-time predictions of FAW spatial occurrence and risk at the farm scale.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Name of principal investigator Sevgan Subramanian
Email of principle investigator Sevgan Subramanian
  • Collaborators: Elfatih M. Abdel-Rahman
  • Collaborators: Emily Kimathi
  • Collaborators: Bester Tawona Mudereri
  • Collaborators: Henri E.Z. Tonnang
  • Collaborators: Raphael Mongare
  • Collaborators: Saliou Niassy
  • Collaborators: Sevgan Subramanian
Donor/funding agency European Union (EU)
Start date of project 2019-01-01
End date of project 2023-11-30
Region East Africa
  • Country: Kenya
  • Country: Tanzania
  • Country: Rwanda
  • Country: Uganda
  • Country: Ethiopia
Administrative area(s)
Name of contact person Elfatih M. Abdel-Rahman
Email of contact person eabdel-rahman@icipe.org
Date uploaded 2023-05-08
Maintainer Kennedy Senagi
Email of maintainer ksenagi@icipe.org
Citation narrative Abdel-Rahman, E.M., Kimathi, E., Mudereri, B. T., Tonnang, H.E.Z., Mongare, R., Niassy, S. and Subramanian, S. 2023. Computational biogeographic distribution of the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda J.E. Smith) moth in eastern Africa. Heliyon
Is this third party data? Yes - I have a proprietary consent to archive it
Acknowledgement statement The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this research by the following organizations and agencies: European Union (EU) funded project Integrated pest management strategy to counter the threat of invasive fall armyworm to food security and Eastern Africa (FAW-IPM) (FOOD/2018402- 634); the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida); the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC); the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and the Government of the Republic of Kenya.