Importance of Earthworms

Earthworms are thought to improve soil quality by:

  • increasing the availability of nutrients with increased levels of available plant nutrients in earthworm casts than in the bulk soil;
  • accelerating the decomposition of organic matter by incorporating litter into the soil; activating both mineralisation and humification processes;
  • improving soil physical properties such as aggregation and soil porosity; suppressing certain pests or disease organisms;
  • and enhancing beneficial microorganisms.

Earthworm abundance, biodiversity, and the presence of particular earthworm species have been used by scientists as indicators of environmental pollution. 

Learn more about earthworms on the OPAL website or join The Earthworm Society of Britain, set up with OPAL’s help to support the Soil and Earthworm Survey.

Earthworm Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

earthworm survey