Abstract:

Earthworm biodiversity, their function and their contribution to ecosystem services in South Africa

Thembeka C Nxele

Ecosystems provide a large number of benefits to humans. In South Africa, indigenous earthworms are somewhat restricted to natural habitats with less destruction and these include forests, grassland as well as in agriculture. Introduced earthworms are found in almost all of our soils and their importance have been recognised mostly in vermiculture. Functions performed by earthworms are not directly profit humans but rather provide indirect services to human society. They are ecosystem engineers and they improve soil fertility and quality. Earthworms are involved in nutrient cycling, make chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphates available in accessible form for plants and other organisms; allow aeration and drainage to take place in the soil. It is therefore important for soils to remain healthy in order to provide for indigenous earthworm species which indirectly support human activities hence soil biodiversity should be protected.

Presentation Topic

Earthworm biodiversity, their function and their contribution to ecosystem services in South Africa

 

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KwaZulu-Natal Museum

 

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