TENDUA - Association for biodiversity conservation

The vital job of earthworms

* Current worms appeared 200 million years ago (humans only 200 000 years ago).
* Earthworms are classified into three main categories:
1) leaf litter- or compost-dwelling worms that are nonburrowing, live in the soil-litter interface and are called Epigeic,
2) topsoil- or subsoil-dwelling worms that feed (on soil), burrow and cast within soil, creating horizontal burrows in the upper 10–30cm of soil (called Endogeics),
3) worms that construct permanent deep vertical burrows, which they use to visit the surface to obtain plant material for food, such as leaves (called Anecic - meaning “reaching up”).
* They are an essential link of the food chain and the guarantors of the soil fertility.
* They clean up soils, they handle waste water, they recycle the organic waste by digesting it. Thanks to the worms’ composting, our rubbish can decrease by 40 %!
* These worms fight against soil erosion: they are the “first ploughmen of the soil” allowing the restoration of life to the soil. By going back and forth between the surface and the deep soil, earthworms give to the soil this necessary texture and aerated structure that quickly disappears if earthworms are eliminated by chemical applications, by frequent mechanical cultivation, or if the soil is compacted by the repeated passages of heavy machines.
* In France in 1950, 2 tons of earthworms were living in 1ha of farmland; today, only 50kg to 200kg of earthworms are remaining in 1ha of farmland… Let’s save earthworms!!!

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