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Locust Watch
Locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia
Kyrgyzstan, 2017. ©A. Alakunov

Survey

Monitoring of locust populations at key periods of their development is fundamental to know importance, development stage and phase of the locust populations. It permits an early detection of changes in locust behaviour, appearance, number and density and as such is crucial to anticipate population increase and outbreak and allows early warning and early reaction if infestations or gregarizing populations are observed. Locust monitoring is ensured by survey operations, during which a wide range of field data are collected. Such field data concern locusts and their habitats; they are transmitted and have to be analysed, taking into account information on weather, climate and vegetation as well as available information on past locust situations.

CCA countries perform ground surveys at one to four key periods of the locust development to monitor locust populations. Collection of standardized accurate field data being essential for monitoring and decision on possible locust control as well as for regional exchange of information, a standard Locust Survey Form was adopted by CCA countries, which agreed to use it at the national level (adopted in 2009, the Form was adjusted in 2015/16).

Regular exchange of information at the regional level is then ensured through the preparation of monthly national bulletins by CCA countries, based on the template approved to that end in 2009, which in turn allows FAO to prepare and issue monthly regional bulletins during the locust campaigns.

In addition, since 2017, CCA countries are starting to operationally use the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC), which is based on the Standard Locust Survey and Spray Monitoring Forms, and feeds the Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System (CCALM), the Geographical Information System (GIS), currently under development to facilitate and improve locust data analysis and forecast.

A specific mention should be made of the joint or cross-border surveys, during which locust experts from neighbouring countries jointly collect field data and evaluate the locust situation in border areas. Such surveys are extremely valuable to enhance knowledge on locust behaviour and habitats and result in better understanding of back and forth movements of locust flights and swarms across borders and identification of specific flight corridors; have a positive impact on the harmonization of practices and techniques at regional level; contribute to the development of regional cooperation between countries and building up of regional network of technical experts; and play a very important role in reducing tensions and finger pointing regarding the sources of locust invasions. 

LOCUST MONITORING AND PROGRAMME RELATED OBJECTIVE

The “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)” (Result 3) has paid a key attention on this topic, which is crucial for the effective implementation of the locust preventive control strategy. More specifically, it aims at contributing to better anticipate and mitigate locusts issues thanks to:

  • More accurate locust monitoring;
  • Enhanced analysis, forecast and reporting capacities, including with operational use of the Automated System for Data Collection and locust GIS in CCA by all countries; and
  • Increased preparedness.


A number of activities have already been implemented since 2011 period and more is planned as this is one of the main axes for the coming years. More information on Results achieved over the 2011-2016 period and The way forward is available on this website under “Programme and donors”.