The Newsletter 66 Winter 2013

Termites and human society in Southeast Asia

Kok-Boon Neoh

Termites are ubiquitous across the world and have widespread beneficial impacts on ecological communities and ecosystem processes. Crop yields increase parallel to the richness of termite species in any given farmland and this is in no small part through the inestimable services termites off er to ecosystems and the role they play as socioeconomic drivers. Long reciprocal interactions have taken place between human society and termites. Yet how they have fundamentally shaped the integrity of our environments, socioeconomic base, and the livelihoods of millions in Southeast Asia today, tends to be ignored. This short essay introduces their role in the eco-systems of Southeast Asia to argue that they should be appraised in any future policies toward the region’s agro-landscape and their invaluable interactions in the humanosphere.


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