Termites Emit 2Xs More CO2 Than Humans. Soil Emits 9Xs More. Termite Numbers, Soil Area Are Growing.
CO2 emissions from termites are more than double human emissions from fossil fuels.
Image sources: New York Times, 1982, Zimmerman et al., 1982
• Termite populations have been observed expanding rapidly in recent decades.
Image Source: Grace, 2006
Image Source: Buczkowski and Bertelsmeier, 2017
• CO2 emissions from soil is 9 times greater than human CO2 emissions.
Image: press release for Carey et al., 2017
• Deserts are shrinking as the Earth greens and soil area expands.
Venter et al., 2018 “Over the past three decades, 7.5 million km2 (55%) of non-forest biomes in sub-Saharan Africa underwent significant net gains in woody plant cover. This is more than triple the 2.2 million km2 (16%) significant decrease in woody plant cover, confirming local-scale studies indicating increases in WPE [woody plant encroachment] over the last century. … These results confirm global greening trends, thereby bringing into question widely held theories about declining terrestrial carbon balances and desert expansion.” Munier et al., 2018 “On average, all vegetation types have experienced greening over the last two decades at rates ranging from 0.026 m2m−2yr−1 for winter crops to 0.042 m2m−2yr−1 for coniferous forests. Coniferous forests are mainly greening in temperate regions and show the largest area affected by high positive trends. By contrast, grasslands are greening at a moderate average rate, but since they cover almost half of the total vegetated area, the grassland area affected by high trend values is greater than for any other vegetation type but coniferous forests. … In the tropical zone, evergreen forests and grasslands are rapidly greening (see Table 4), which seems to be related to rising CO2 in the atmosphere [Zhu et al., 2016]. On the contrary, in high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere where coniferous forests are dominating, Zhu, Z. et al.  suggested that changes in the vegetation dynamics are mainly driven by climate change.” Brandt et al., 2017 “Here we used a passive microwave Earth observation data set to document two different trends in land area with woody cover for 1992–2011: 36% of the land area (6,870,000 km2) had an increase in woody cover largely in drylands, and 11% had a decrease (2,150,000 km2), mostly in humid zones. Increases in woody cover were associated with low population growth, and were driven by increases in CO2 in the humid zones and by increases in precipitation in drylands, whereas decreases in woody cover were associated with high population growth.” Bastin et al., 2017 “We show that in 2015, 1327 million hectares of drylands had more than 10% tree-cover, and 1079 million hectares comprised forest. Our estimate is 40 to 47% higher than previous estimates, corresponding to 467 million hectares of forest that have never been reported before. This increases current estimates of global forest cover by at least 9%.”