Climate crisis could pave way for global termite infestation

By Nathalie Medina, Florida International University
February 9, 2023
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Warming temperatures unleash termites in more areas of the world, and more termites may actually accelerate warming temperatures. Scientists say it’s time for climate prediction models to take note. Not only do termites find warm and humid climates more hospitable, but they consume and decay wood at much higher rates in such climates, according to an international team of scientists including Florida International University biologist Oscar Valverde-Barrantes. As the termites consume wood, they release stored carbon into the atmosphere. More carbon dioxide means higher temperatures—a vicious cycle not currently accounted for in current climate predictions, Valverde-Barrantes said. …Using climatic models, the scientists concluded that termite habitats could increase by more than 30 percent of their current range. As they consume more wood, they will release carbon that has been stored in previously untapped forests for hundreds of years. 

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