The increase in termite population could accelerate climate change

Researchers have warned in a study that rising temperatures favor the expansion of termites and, as a consequence, will increase the consumption of woodwhich will result in an increase in emethane and CO2 missions and climate change will accelerate.

The magazine ‘Science’ has published the work in which the Forestry Science and Technology Center of Catalonia (CTFC), the University of Lleida (UdL), el Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (Creaf), the Superior Council of Scientific Investigations (CSIC), Agrotecnio and the University of Alcalá, have reported in a joint statement this Thursday.

According to the authors, termites have the potential to colonize one-third of the earth’s surfacebut they estimate that global warming will favor its expansion of 39 million square kilometers currently occupying the 45 millions of square kilometers.

In addition, for every 10 degree rise in temperature, termites increase the decomposition of wood by 6.8 times, which has “significant” consequences for the environment. carbon cycle: these insects are more sensitive to changes in temperature than microbes and fungi that are also involved in the removal of wood.

The authors have warned that current climate models are based solely on carbon emissions from microbes and do not take into account termites, which emit three times more than microbes during decomposition.

The dead wood is a large global carbon store whose size is partially determined by the biotic decomposition. Microbial decomposition rates in wood are known to respond to changes in temperature and precipitation. Termites are also important decomposers in the tropics, but are less well studied. It is necessary to know its sensitivity to weather to estimate the effects of climate change on wood carbon pools.


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