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.