Interactive agricultural Web map debuts

March 10, 2011 at 7:23 PM

BELTSVILLE, Md., March 10 (UPI) -- U.S. and Russian scientists say they've developed an AgroAtlas, an interactive Web site showing the distribution of crops, plant diseases, pests and weeds.

The Web map shows 100 crops, 640 species of diseases, pests and weeds, and 560 wild crop relatives growing in Russia and neighboring countries, a release by the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday.

AgroAtlas was developed to promote world food security, particularly in Newly Independent States -- countries of the former Soviet Union striving to broaden their agricultural base -- USDA plant geneticist Stephanie Greene said.

Greene heads the AgroAtlas project with Alexandr N. Afonin, a senior scientist at St. Petersburg State University in Russia.

Uses of AgroAtlas include showing where U.S. wine grapes could be successfully grown in Crimea, a major wine-producing region, and the distribution of major wheat diseases in the North Caucasus region by climate zones.

AgroAtlas has potential to aid in the detection and identification of insect pests, pathogens or weeds that have entered -- or could enter -- the United States from Russia or neighboring countries, Greene said.

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