Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Biomass of termites and their emissions of methane and carbon dioxide: A global database

Authors

  • M. G. Sanderson


Abstract

A global database describing the geographical distribution of the biomass of termites and their emissions of methane and carbon dioxide has been constructed. Termite biomasses were assigned to various ecosystems using published measurements and a recent high-resolution (10′ × 10′) database of vegetation categories. The assigned biomasses were then combined with literature measurements of fluxes of methane and carbon dioxide from termites and extrapolated to give global emission estimates for each gas. The global emissions of methane and carbon dioxide are 19.7 ± 1.5 and 3500 ± 700 Mt yr−1, respectively (1 Mt = 1012 g). These emissions contribute approximately 4% and 2%, respectively, to the total global fluxes of these gases. This database gives an accurate distribution of the biomasses and gaseous emissions by termites and may be incorporated into global models of the atmosphere.

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