Soil respiration (Rs) represents the largest flux of CO2 from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere, but its spatial and temporal changes as well as the driving forces are not well understood. We derived a product of annual global Rs from 2000 to 2014 at 1 km by 1 km spatial resolution using remote sensing data and biome-specific statistical models. Different from the existing view that climate change dominated changes in Rs, we showed that land-cover change played a more important role in regulating Rs changes in temperate and boreal regions during 2000-2014. Significant changes in Rs occurred more frequently in areas with significant changes in short vegetation cover (i.e., all vegetation shorter than 5 m in height) than in areas with significant climate change. These results contribute to our understanding of global Rs patterns and highlight the importance of land-cover change in driving global and regional Rs changes.