Diversity of earthworms and their significance in ecosystem

Abstract : The concept of agriculture is about ten thousand years old, yet man’s interference with nature has become quite evident right from the ancient times; while progressed from hunter to pastoral and subsequently nomadic way of life. The process of environmental degradation yet enhanced with the development in agriculture, obviously necessitated by the increase in the human population and subsequently its growing needs. Thus, there will be an enhanced need for more energy subsidies, more exploitation of natural resources and consequently more degradation of the environment. About 350 million tons of waste comes directly from agricultural activities. It has been reported that about 90% of this waste is dumped unscientifically in landfills, that creates problems especially to human health and environment as a whole. Safe and eco-friendly disposal and management of waste is one of the major global problems. Unscientific management of waste may have negative impact on environment by causing foul smell, contaminating air, water and soil as well as causing potential hazards to human health. A sustainable approach to handle problems of waste management is to treat and reprocess organic waste on-site, to produce useful products. Composting is the most economical and sustainable option for organic waste management as it is easy to operate and can be conducted in contained space provided it is managed properly. Earthworms distributed widely throughout the world especially in tropical and temperate regions are considered important contributors of soil ecosystem services viz. soil structure development, biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, detritus food chain formation, improve soil water holding capacity, reduces soil bulk density and decomposition of organic matter that’s why they are known as Ecosystem Engineers and Intestines of Earth. However, anthropogenic land use patterns are affecting the distribution of native, exotic, and peregrine earthworm communities which is a matter of concern. In this article, efforts have been made to discuss the diversity of earthworms and their role in ecological and environmental processes.
Keyword : Ecosystem services, earthworms, composting, agriculture, diversity
Author(s) : Kumar, A., Kumar, R.
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Published Issue : 2023 Vol. 18 Supplement

2023 Vol. 18 Supplement