Thousand-year-long Chinese time series reveals climatic forcing of decadal locust dynamics

Leif Christian Stige, Kung Sik Chan, Zhibin Zhang, David Frank, Nils C. Stenseth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


For >1,000 years, Chinese officials have recorded the annual abundance of the oriental migratory locust Locusta migratoria manilensis, with the ultimate aim of predicting locust outbreaks. Linking these records with temperature and precipitation reconstructions for the period 957-1956, we show that decadal mean locust abundance is highest during cold and wet periods. These periods coincide with above-average frequencies of both floods and droughts in the lower Yangtze River, phenomena that are associated with locust outbreaks. Our results imply differential ecological responses to interdecadal and interannual climatic variability. Such frequency-dependent effects deserve increased attention in global warming studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16188-16193
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 9 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Agricultural pest
  • Ecological response
  • Frequency dependence
  • Global warming
  • Locusta migratoria manilensis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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