. Earth Science News .

Forests under threat from exotic earthworm invasion
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Sep 06, 2011

The authors found that the introduction of exotic earthworm species can be traced as far back as European settlers arriving in North America and dumping ship ballast, a mixture of soil and gravel, onto the land.

It is widely acknowledged that human beings are largely responsible for the widespread alteration of ecosystems on the planet. A recent study by Dara Seidl and Peter Klepeis of Colgate University in New York traces the ways in which humans are the principal agents of dispersal of exotic earthworms in the forests of Northern America.

Their findings, published online in Springer's journal Human Ecology, suggest that humans spread earthworms both inadvertently via horticulture and land disturbance, in the tires and underbodies of vehicles, but also knowingly through composting and careless disposal of fish bait.

Non-native species of earthworms can have a detrimental effect on the flora and fauna of the forests. They can be responsible for accelerating the breakdown of the organic material on the surface of the forest floor, thereby reducing the habitat for the animals living there and possibly increasing soil erosion.

The researchers conducted a case study in Webb, NY, a large township in the Adirondack State Park, home to the largest unbroken temperate forest in the world.

They first analyzed the environmental history of the area and followed this up with a mail survey of 150 Webb residents to assess their recreation and environmental practices related to earthworm dispersal.

The authors found that the introduction of exotic earthworm species can be traced as far back as European settlers arriving in North America and dumping ship ballast, a mixture of soil and gravel, onto the land.

Today, the main culprits are recreational fishing, gardening, composting and the movement of egg cases on vehicles which are mostly to blame for their continued spread.

The authors conclude that even the most environmentally conscious individuals do not currently realize what a threat these earthworms pose.

They suggest that, in particular, gardening clubs and convenience stores which sell worms to anglers should be targeted with information and that "the public needs to be empowered to implement behavior that helps mitigate the introduction of earthworms."

Seidl DE and Klepeis P. Human dimensions of earthworm invasion in the Adirondack State Park. Human Ecology 2011. DOI 10.1007/s10745-011-9422-y

Related Links
Springer Press
Forestry News - Global and Local News, Science and Application


Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

60% of deforested Amazon used for cattle: study
Brasilia (AFP) Sept 3, 2011
More than 60 percent of deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon forest are used for grazing cattle, while only five percent is used for agriculture, a new government study said. From research of satellite imagery, Brazilian officials found of the 719,000 square kilometers (277,000 square miles) cleared up to 2008, a whopping 62 percent was left as just grass, and that the use amounted to on ... read more

Grim search after 31 die in Japan typhoon

Haiti political knot complicates governance: outgoing PM

Reconstruction from quake top priority: Japan PM Noda

Obama tours flooded, storm-hit New Jersey

Hiding Objects With a Terahertz Invisibility Cloak

To Clear Digital Waste in Computers Think Green

NASA Gives Public New Internet Tool to Explore the Solar System

Cornell physicists capture microscopic origins of thinning and thickening fluids

Sharks saved from soupy fate set free at sea

Pacific shows climate change a reality: UN chief

Greece to airlift water to Tripoli: foreign ministry

Iran accuses protesters of politicising dying lake: report

Iceland receives Chinese request for land purchase: ministry

China tycoon makes Iceland environment pledge

Woolly rhino fossil hints at origins of Ice Age giants

Chinese tycoon defends Iceland project

Chinese haute cuisine comes to Paris

Feeding cows natural plant extracts can reduce dairy farm odors and feed costs

Manipulating plants circadian clock may make all-season crops possible

Protecting wild species may require growing more food on less land

Katia weakens to category three hurricane: NHC

Depression Lee weakens over US South

US readies flood aid to N. Korea

Grim search after 37 die in Japan typhoon

One killed in Senegal rebel attack

Nigerian soldiers kill two in reprisal attack on town

Uruguay shanty towns get partial reprieve

Ugandan villagers reel from mudslide tragedy

Two Brain Halves Just One Perception

40-year follow-up on marshmallow test points to biological basis for delayed gratification

Humans shaped stone axes 1.8 million years ago

Climate change threatens mental health too: study

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement