Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
"Termites are not all bad. In natural settings, they fulfill a vital function in breaking down the forest debris into raw materials that nourish new trees. Termites get into difficulty because they cannot tell the difference between a fallen tree and wood that is being used by humans" (Knowledge Book Enclyclopedia, 1997). By converting existing biomass to biomass that other animals can consume, termites support a large proportion of temperate vertebrate biodiversity, including many species of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and ground foraging insectivorous mammals. Termites are effective decomposers. Although not in widespread use now, they could be used to degrade damp rotten wood, wood chips, mill waste, structural rubble waste or other wood waste. They are relatively easy to handle and maintain, and could play a beneficial role in reducing landfill space.