Global change encompasses changes in atmospheric composition, climate and climate variability, and land cover and land use. The occurrence of these changes and their interactive effects on biological systems are worldwide; thus, an effective global change research and impact assessment program must be based on international and interdisciplinary research and communication. With this in mind, several collaborative research networks with a focus on global change have been established in the biological sciences. They include the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE) Core Project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) which aims to predict the effects of global change on terrestrial ecosystems, including agriculture and production forestry. Because of the importance of plant pests (arthropods, microbial pathogens, weeds) as yield-reducing factors in agriculture and as early indicators of global change, GCTE initiated a network Activity on 'Global Change Impacts on Pests, Diseases and Weeds' with the overall goal of developing a predictive capability for impact assessment and adaptation. The network's specific objectives, contributing research projects, initial results and future challenges are discussed. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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