Session 4: Agroecology, Sustainable ecosystem and earthworm engineering
(Wednesday, July 13 – 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.)



Through which pathways can earthworms increase soil phosphorus availability?

Jan Willem van Groenigen1, Hannah M. J. Vos1,2, Tjisse Hiemstra2, Gerwin F. Koopmans2
1  Soil Biology Group, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 3, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
2 Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality Group, , Droevendaalsesteeg 3, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands

In the search for a more sustainable form of agriculture, a better recycling of major nutrients is essential. For phosphorus (P), one of the most limiting factors to better recycling is chemical adsorption to reactive soil particles, which seriously restricts P supply to plants in many soils. It has been known for some time that earthworms can temporarily increase soil P availability in their casts. However, the exact pathways behind this effect are unclear, making it difficult to infer under which conditions earthworms may significantly contribute to P recycling. In a greenhouse experiment encompassing four soils with different physico-chemical characteristics (texture, metal oxide composition, P availability, pH, etc) and three earthworm species (L. rubellus, A. caliginosa and A. longa) we further studied earthworm-induced P availability. Using surface complexation modeling we evaluated the relative importance of the various possible mechanisms. We concluded that the earthworm-induced effect on P desorption through changes in pH was relatively small. Increased mineralization of organic P did play an important role; as did competitive desorption of DOC to metal oxides. However, our study also revealed a new important pathway: a reduction in reactive surface area of soil metal (hydr)oxides during earthworm gut passage. As this decrease was important in iron (hydr)oxide-dominated soils but not in aluminum (hydr)oxide-dominated soils (which are not redox-sensitive), we suggest that earthworms have the largest potential to affect soil P availability in the former soils.

keywords: Agriculture; Soil Fertility; Phosphorus; Soil Chemistry


Regional variability of European earthworm communities under different farming systems

Maria J.I. Briones1, Visa Nuutinen2, Stefan Schrader3, Igor Dekemati4, Nikola Grujić5, Mari Ivask6, Simon Bo Lassen7, Eva Lloret8, Barbara Simon9, Nancy de Sutter10, Kristian K. Brandt7, Krista Peltoniemi11, Merrit Shanskiy6, Lieven Waeyenberge10, Raúl Zornoza8, David Fernández Calviño12
1Departamento de Ecología e Biología Animal, Universidade de Vigo, 36310, Vigo, Spain;
2Soil Ecosystems, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Tietotie 4, 31600 Jokioinen, Finland;
3Institute of Biodiversity, Thünen Institute, Bundesallee 65, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany;
4Department of Agronomy, Institute of Crop Production Sciences, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Páter K. u. 1., H-2100 Gödöllö, Hungary;
5Department for Entomology and Agricultural Zoology, Institute for Phytomedicine, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade, Nemanjina 6, 11080 Belgrade-Zemun, Serbia;
6Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, 5 Fr. R. Kreutzwaldi St., 51006 Tartu, Estonia;
7Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Denmark;
8Sustainable Use, Management and Reclamation of Soil and Water Research Group (GARSA), Department of Agricultural Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena,  Cartagena, Spain;
9Department of Soil Science, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Pater K. u. 1., H-2103 Gödöllö, Hungary;
10ILVO (Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food), Plant Sciences Unit, Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 96, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium;
11Soil Ecosystems, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Latokartanonkaari 9, 00790 Helsinki, Finland;
12Section for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Department of Plant Biology and Soil Science, Universidade de Vigo, 32004 Ourense, Spain

We studied the response of earthworm communitiesto agricultural management as a part of aEurope wide survey of arable soil biodiversity (SoildiverAgro -project, EU H2020No. 817819). The study covered nine pedoclimatic regions from Mediterranean to Boreal (S to N) and from Lusitanian to Pannonian (W to E) regions. In each region,20-25 wheat fields under long-term conventional or organic management were surveyed resulting in total of 188 fields. Earthworms were sampled once in each field by combined soil hand-sorting and AITC-extraction of three samples during the period of peak earthworm activity in topsoil, which varied locally due to severe drought conditions (from 2019 (most of the samplings) to 2021). Supporting data on environmental conditions, soil properties and field management were collected from each field and analyzed together withearthworm community metrics (total abundance and biomass and species richness) using mixed models (GLMM). Results showed no significant effect of agricultural management on earthworm communities, but a great regional variation in earthworm population sizes, with the Boreal region having the highest mean total density (169 individuals m-2) and fresh mass (87 g m-2) and thesouthern Mediterraneanregions the lowest mean abundances (less than one individual and one gram m-2). Species richness was low across all investigated regions, with the highest valuesbeing recorded at the Nemoral and Atlantic regions (mean of 2-3 species per field). Regional effects were mainly explained by climate, withhigh long-term mean annual temperature (past 30 years) having a negative influence on the three earthwormcommunity metrics.More detailed analyses of how earthworm communities varied in relation to environment and management are in progress and the results will be reviewed and discussed.


 Potential of earthworms (Pontoscolex corethrurus) to enhance uplandrice growth and nutrition in nutrient depleted Ferralsols. Examples from Madagascar

O. Ratsiatosika1,2, J. Trap2, M. Razafindrakoto2, L. Bernard1,2, T. Razafimbelo1,2,E. Blanchart1,2
1  Eco&Sols, Institut Agro, University Montpellier, CIRAD, INRAe, IRD, 2 Place Viala,34060 Montpellier, France
2 Laboratoire des Radio-Isotopes, University of Antananarivo, BP 3383, Route d’Andraisoro, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar

In Madagascar, the upland rice constitutes a potential alternative to address the issue of food insecurity. However,the low fertility of soilsin the Malagasy highlands remains a serious constraint to agricultural productivity and sustainability. Indeed, Ferralsols which are predominant in these regions are prone to multiple nutrient deficiency.In such context, the intensification of soil ecological processes appears crucial to enhance agrosystem services.Earthworms known as ecosystem engineersare involved in thesoil ecological functions at the basis of crop productivity. Their positive effect on plant growth is well-documented in the literature. Following their potentially beneficial effects on functions and services, earthworms are generally perceived as animals to be sustained in agricultural systems.Here, we tested the effect of earthworm inoculation (with (EW+) or without inoculation (EW0))and cropping systems (conservation agriculture (CA), traditional tillage with or without residues restitution) on upland rice cultivated in nutrient depleted Ferralsols in the Highlands of Madagascar. A field experiment was conducted to better assess the plant response to earthworms in real conditions mimicking farmer’s practices. Experiment was launched in 2013 and lasted for four growing seasons. We used an endogeic species Pontoscolex corethrurus (Rhinodrilidae) mostly found in anthropized environment in Madagascar. Each year, earthworms were inoculatedat a density of 75 ind.m-2. Soil and plant properties were measured during the first three years while soil biological properties were assessed at the fourthyear.Results showed that the earthworm density was three-fold higher in EW+ than in EW0 at the end of experiment. Also, earthworm density was more important in CA than in tillage systems. Earthworm inoculation had higher significant effects on soil and plant properties than cropping systems. After three years of inoculation, earthworms positively affect the aboveground biomass (+ 28%) and grain yields of rice (+ 45%). Also, the grain N and P amounts increased by +43% and +28%, respectively. Thanks to the beneficial effects of earthworms, the earthworm biofertilization or the optimization of their activity through various agroecological practices appear as promising ways to meet the context of ecological intensification of agriculture.

keywords: Pontoscolex corethrurus ; rice growth; conservation agriculture


A Pan-European comparison of earthworm communities from annual and perennial wheat cropping systems

Alena Förster1, Christophe David2, Benjamin Dumont3, Linda-Maria Dimitrova-Martensson4, Frank Rasche5, Christoph Emmerling1
1  University of Trier, Faculty of Regional and Environmental Sciences, Department of Soil Science, Campus II, D-54292 Trier, Germany
2  ISARA, Agroecology and Environment Unit, 23 rue Jean Baldassini, F-69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
3  Liège University, Plant Science Unit, 2 Passage des Déportés, B-5030 Gembloux, Belgium
4  Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Biosystems and Technology Unit, Sundsvågen 14, S-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
5  University of Hohenheim, Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), D-70593 Stuttgart, Germany

The cultivation of perennial crops is known to highly support earthworm communities. This has been investigated in the past for grassland and bioenergy systems.

Upon recent development, perennial Thinopyrum intermedium (Kernza®) is increasingly recognised throughout European agriculture. However, impacts of Kernza® on soil, soil processes governed by soil microbes as well as on soil faunal assemblages are not well studied yet. Within the EU-Biodiversa project NAPERDIV earthworm communities, among other research areas, were investigated in a Pan-European transect from Northern Europe to Southern Europe, such as from three sites in Sweden (SITES Research Station Lönnstorp) to Belgium (Gembloux) to South France (Lyon) comparing Kernza® with winter wheat, representing a edapho-climatic gradient and diverse growth conditions.

Earthworms were collected from soils in spring and autumn 2021. Our preliminary results clearly emphasize more individuals and higher biomasses in perennial related to annual wheat sites. Moreover, earthworm populations from perennial cereal treatments had a higher species diversity. These differences may be traced back to the no-till management of perennial cropping sites as well as to better food resources for earthworms in perennial related to annual wheat sites. The first results further show higher earthworm diversity in sites from South France relative to Gembloux and Lönnstorp confirming the biogeographic gradient of earthworm diversity within Mid-Europe.

keywords: Earthworm population; perennial wheat; annual wheat; Pan-European transect; Earthworm diversity


Management intensity in croplands and grasslands affect earthworm biomass differently under ambient and future climatic scenario

Qun Liu1,2,4, Stefan Scheu2,3, Nico Eisenhauer4,5, Martin Schädler1,4
Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Department of Community Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4, 06110, Halle (Saale), Germany
2 Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 37073, Gottingen, Germany
Center of Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 1, 37077, Göttingen, Germany
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103, Leipzig, Germany
Institute for Biology, Leipzig University, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103, Leipzig, Germany

Global change drivers, such as climate change and land-use intensification, may profoundly influence abundance and biomass of soil organisms. However, it is still not well known how these concurrent drivers interact in affecting ecological communities. Here, we present the results of an experimental field study assessing the interactive effects of climate change and land-use intensification (conventional farmland vs. organic farmland, intensively managed grassland vs. extensively managed meadow) on abundance and biomass of earthworms across seasons (spring and autumn). We found that the abundance and biomass of earthworms is significantly higher in grassland than in cropland. The intensive grassland use decreased total abundance and biomass of earthworm with strong seasonal dynamics, but farmland intensification and the projected climate change had weaker effects. Strikingly, the negative effects of intensive land use on earthworm abundance and biomass were species-specific. Endogeic earthworms except for Aporrectodea caliginosa had higher abundance and biomass in extensively used meadows than intensively used meadows. However, intensive grassland management increased the abundance and biomass of the anecic earthworm Lumbricus terrestris. The influence of intensive cropland managemention earthworm abundance was slightly associated with altered climatic conditions. The earthworm abundance in organic croplands tended to be consistently higher than in conventional croplands under future climate conditions, but not under ambient climate. These finding indicates that negative effects of land use intensification on earthworms vary greatly among different land use types.

keywords: intensive land use, agroecosystem, grassland, croplands, climate change, earthworms, soil diversity


 Earthworm Enhancement can make a difference- A field investigation of Lumbricus terrestris on crop production in three soil tillage systems

P. Euteneuer1, H. Wagentristl1,A. Hofer2, M. Windisch2, E. Weiler2, S. Widy2, G. Bodner2, R.W. Neugschwandter2, K. R. Butt3
1  University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna; Department of Crop Science, Experimental Farm, Gross-Enzersdorf, Austria
2  University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna; Department of Crop Science, Institute Agronomy, Vienna, Austria
3  University of Central Lancashire, School of Natural Science, Preston, United Kingdom

Soil tillage such as ploughing can increase crop yields by suppressing plant diseases and increase soil pore volume for soil aeration. Earthworms can provide the same services and additionally support plant growth by increasing available plant nutrition. However, with increasing soil disturbance, earthworm numbers decline, but to examine possible interactions of earthworms, soil tillage and crops additional Lumbricus terrestris were inoculated intotwo long-term soil tillage trials. Both sites in North-East Austria contained three soil tillage systems (plough, cultivator, no-till) in a randomized block design with three or four replicates. L. terrestris(14 earthworms m-²) were added in May 2019 (site 1) or2020 (site 2) into 7m2enclosures in maize (Zea mays)followed by winter wheat (Triticum aestivumin2020 or 2021). The aim was to investigate effects of enhanced vs ambient (control) earthworm populations on plant parameters such as yield and nitrogen (N) uptake.Abundance of L. terrestris was determined by counting middens in autumn and spring. Overall, earthworm inoculation doubled midden abundance in enclosures of cultivator or plough (12.5 middens m-2), andslightly increased abundance in no-till by 25% (28.9 middens m-2) compared to respective controls. Earthworm enhancement had no effect on maize yield at site 1, but it was higher at site 2 in enhanced plough, cultivator and no-till plots compared to control plough and cultivator. The wheat yield in the following year was highest in enhanced plough at site 1and similar between treatments at site 2.The N content of maize and wheat grains at site 2 was higher in enclosures compared to controls and similar seen with the Normalized Difference Red Edge index during the growth period. Different results of enhanced vs ambient earthworm populations at the two sites are soil moisture-related with higher precipitation in 2020 than 2019or 2021. Soil moisture in 2020 was also higher in enclosures than controls and further steps include isotope analyses to determine plant water uptake. Overall, earthworms showed their ability to support crop yield and quality, but only with sufficient water supply.

keywords: Plant nutrition; maize, soil tillage; soil moisture, winter wheat


Do reduced tillage practices applied under organic farming represent realistic approach to maintain soil biological, physical and chemical quality and the linked ecosystem services?

Pérès Guénola1, Florent Lelu1, Patrice Cotinet2, Yannick Bénard1, Vincent Hallaire1, Djilali Heddadj2, Olivier Manceau2, Cluzeau Daniel3
1  UMR SAS INRAe Institut Agro Rennes-Angers, 65 rue de Saint Brieuc, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France
2  Chambre Régionale d’Agriculture de Bretagne, ZAC Atalante-Champeaux, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France
3 University of Rennes, CNRS, ECOBIO [(Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution)] - UMR 6553, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France

While no-ploughing farming techniques (NP) are increasingly used by farmers all over the world, avoiding or limiting ploughing under organic farming management remains a big challenge for organic farmersconsidering ploughing techniques as one of their levers to manage weeds. Furthermore, if the effects of no-ploughing techniques on soil properties are more and more documented, the holistic assessment, meaning the effect on biological, physical and chemical properties is still poorly documented. By developing an holistic approach, the aim of this study which is part of European Snowman-Sustain project, was to evaluate the impact, under organic farming management, of different tillage techniques on soil biological, physical and chemical quality and ecosystem services (water regulation, crop yield). This study was conducted at the experimental site of Kerguéhennec (Britany, France) managed by Regional Chamber of Agriculture (CRAB). At this site, subdivided in 4 blocks, four tillage techniques were compared: conventional ploughing (CP, ploughing at 25 cm), agronomic ploughing (AP, ploughing at15 cm), superficial non-inversed tillage (C15, harrowing at 15 cm) and very superficial non-inversed tillage (C8, harrow at 5 cm). Measurements were realized over 10 years at height dates from 2003 to 2013.

Results showed that no-ploughing techniques (C15, C8) did not increase the number of earthworms, due to the development of endogeic under conventional ploughing, but positively impacted earthworm biomass, due to an increase of anecic species. No-ploughing and AP improved microbial biomass while they did not really affect nematofauna community. No-ploughing techniques had a positive impact on physical properties (hydraulic conductivity, soil aggregate stability, bulk density) and on chemical properties (Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorous contents). The inter-parameters studies show that anecics, particularly Lumbricus r. rubellus, enhanced the hydraulic conductivity and Carbon and Phosphorus contents, while endogeic species had a negative impact on hydraulic conductivity. In contrast, no-ploughing farming techniques leaded to a decrease of the crop yield, due to an increase of weeds. This holistic approach, co-constructed with farmers, highlighted the interest of no-ploughing techniques (C15, C8) in organic farming management for enhancing soil quality but recommended the use of occasional superficial ploughing (15 cm depth) for limiting the development of weeds and enhancing the crop yield.

keywords: Earthworm response ; holistic diagnostic ; soil heath ; co-construction ; agroecology 


Spatial and temporal dynamics of earthworms in a young Mediterranean agroforestry system

Maeva Iannelli1, Sylvain Gérard1, Marie Beauchesne1, Audrey Beche2, Daniel Fernández Marchán3, Yvan Capowiez4, Claire Marsden1, Mickaël Hedde1.
Eco&Sols, INRAE, IRD, CIRAD, InstitutAgro Montpellier, Montpellier, France
ABSys, INRAE, CIRAD, InstitutAgro Montpellier, Montpellier, France
CEFE, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, Montpellier, France
INRAE, UMR 1114 EMMAH, INRAE – Université d’Avignon, Avignon, France

Agroforestry systems generally enhance soil fauna abundance and diversity compared to conventional cropping systems (Marsden et al, 2019). However, few studies have focused on how such changes take place over time and space in inherently heterogeneous alley-cropping systems. In our study, the main objective was to examine the temporal dynamics of earthworm communities in plots spatially structured after the establishment of tree rows in annual crop fields and to compare them to the earthworm temporal dynamics in spatially homogenous systems. We expected abundance, biomass, taxonomic and functional diversityto increase under the tree rows during the first years of theagroforestry system. This increase was expected to lead to a spillover to the adjacentcrop alleys. To address these questions, earthworms were sampled on the DIAMs experimental site, set up in 2017, and located in Mauguio, South of France. It’s a 3-block replicated system including 3 land uses: alley-cropping agroforestry, tree plantation, and crops. Agricultural practices are conventional and are similarly carried out on each cultivated part. The trees are black locust trees (Robiniapseudoacacia). Samplings were carried out in early spring, in 2017 at tree planting, and in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Preliminary results showed an increase in abundance over time. Furthermore, the frequency of occurrence per point increased from year to year. The notable increase in earthworms in the cultivated alleys was nevertheless led by Microscolexdubius, an exotic species in France that dominates earthworm communities on the studied site. Moreover, the 2022 data showed a change in community composition with the new appearance of anecics in the tree rows which were not present before.Community composition tends to be similar (i) under tree rows and tree plantations, and (ii) undercrop alleys and crops.Long-term monitoring is needed to better understand how earthworm dynamics influence the intra-plot heterogeneity of ecosystem functioning in agroforestry systems.

Marsden et al (2019) Plant & Soil. 10.1007/s11104-019-04322-4

keywords: Alley cropping; Earthworm community; Spatial structure; Temporal dynamics


 Assessment of the impact of M. x giganteus ash application on earthworm communities and soil quality, in an agricultural setting

C. Brami123, C.N. Lowe2, S. Menasseri3, T. Jacquet1, G. Pérès3
Phytorestore, Paris, France
University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
Agrocampus Ouest, Rennes, France

Ash from thermal combustion of the energy crop Miscanthus x giganteus is currently classified as a waste product but has potential as a sustainable soil amendment.The objective of this studywas to assess the effect of M. x giganteus ash on earthworm communities, and more widely on soil quality by integrating biological, physical and chemical soil parameters in a soil quality index.

Increasing doses of Miscanthus ash (0, 1, 2.5 and 5 t ha-1) were applied prior to seeding a fieldwith wheat in Seine-et-Marne (France). Two sampling campaigns took place 5 and 12 months after ash application. Earthworm communitieswere sampled by hand sorting soil coupled with application of a mustard vermifuge. Other biological, chemical, and physical soilproperties  wereanalysed and results were aggregated as a soil quality index.

Across all treatments and at both sampling dates, total earthworm abundance, biomass and ecological category proportionswere not significantly influenced byM. x giganteus ash treatments. Similarly, no changes in species richness, equitability and Shannon indices were recorded between treatments.In contrast, applied ash increased the levels of available Phosphorous (P2O5 Olsen) and exchangeable K2O in the soil. Aggregation of results into a soil quality index showed an improvement in the physical soil component in the 5 t ha-1 treatment up to twelve months after ash application. In addition, the 1 t ha-1 treatment showed themost favourable results foragronomic, total metals, exchangeable metals and biological components of the soil, twelve months after ash application.

These results show thatash inputs from M. x giganteus do not alter earthworm communities and can improve soil quality, reinforcing the possibility of safeash inputs. Further studies performed in different soil types are requiredtoverify the safety of repeated ash inputs and results will also inform the debate about the current classification of Miscanthus ash as a waste.

keywords: Miscanthus × giganteus, ash, thermal chain, soil quality index, earthworm community


Making earthworm surveys in agricultural environments easier: Keys to the common agricultural earthworms of Europe

Sherlock, E. and Csuzdi, C.

Agricultural and highly managed soils do not house the diversity of earthworm species to be found in less managed habitats within the same countries (Baker et al 1997, Boyer et al  1997) . However when using country specific keys, the full diversity to be housed in a country can leave prohibitively large faunal lists with very difficult characters being needed to split taxa. In a number of cases no keys are present for the country at all.  This paper highlights, that for a number of European countries,  they are very often the same species to be found across the continent in these agricultural settings.  The authors collated lists, from published survey work, of earthworm species which have been recorded in these highly managed areas, across a range of European countries, as well as drawing on their own experience working within these settings on projects.  Two keys have been compiled which could be used when carrying out survey work, within these agricultural environments.

1: Arable and pasture fields

2: Orchards, vineyards & olive groves.


The economy of earthworms; values and incentives beyond ecology

Martin Potthoff1, Jack Faber2, Anne van Doorn2, Guenola Pérès3, AstridTaylor4, ElkePlaas5, AnnekeBeylich6, Annegret Nicolai7, Friederike Meyer-Wolfarth8, Stefan Schrader9, Ilka Engell1, Deborah Linsler1
Center of biodiversity and sustainable land use, University of Göttingen, Germany
2  Sustainable Soil Use, Wageningen Environmental Research, The Netherlands
InstitutAgroAgrocampusOuest,INRAE,UMR SAS, France
InstförEkologi, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Institut für Betriebswirtschaft, Thünen Institut, Germany
IFAB Institut für Angewandte Bodenbiologie GmbH, Germany
Living Lab CLEF des mondes, France
Institute for Plant Protectionin Field Crops and Grassland, Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Germany
Institut für Biodiversität, Thünen Institut, Germany

As ecologists we know a huge number of functions provided by soil organisms that strengthen the resistance and resilience of the soil, and finally guarantee a sustainable high soil fertility. This enables for establishing land use systems of high value for farmers and people. For earthworms we list numerous functions and associated ecosystem services that are highly acknowledged in ecology. Although these functions are quantified in ecology, these functions are hardly translated intounits that are economically accountable to stakeholders or society at large. To take the functions and associated services beyond ecology is important. If we create a sense and a value for the extent of land use supporting factors from biodiversity, we get a positive spin for soil health, and biodiversity conservation.
One approach to such valuation is being elaborated within the Dutch 'BiodiversityMonitor' project, a joint initiative of Friesland Campina (dairy industry), Rabobank, and the World Wildlife Fund. Focusing on conservation of biodiversity, the program has grown inclusive for policy objectives regarding climate, environment and the sustainable society. The principle behind the BiodiversityMonitor is an integrated approach to accomplish these goals by leaving the management choices to the farmer. Sets of key performance indicators have been developed, on the combined basis of which financial compensation can be granted as support to farmers to implement measures to help achieve these social goals. While the Monitor is progressing into an introduction phase, additional KPIs addressing soil quality are also being developed, which may include functional biodiversity and structural biodiversity.


Do vibrations from wind turbines and highways affect earthworm communities in agricultural landscapes?

Bart Muys1, Lindsey Norgrove2, Florian de Samblanx1, Ellen Desie3
KU Leuven, Division Forest, Nature &Landscape, Leuven, Belgium
2  Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL), Switzerland
KU Leuven, Division Forest, Nature & Landscape, campus Geel, Geel, Belgium

It is well known that vibrations affect earthworm behaviour at microscale, but no studies are known on the long-term effect of vibrations from the technosphere at macroscale. In this study, earthworm communities were sampled in three agricultural landscapes of central Belgium, using a design with transects away from wind turbines, in parallel to or perpendicular to highways. This design allowed calculation of a vibration coefficient for every sample plot. Also. other environmental variables, related to soil and cropping system, were available. Results of linear mixed models show that diversity, abundance and biomass of earthworm communities were mainly explained by factors related to the cropping system (soil work, organic matter management, N fertilization) and soil humidity.Neither the wind turbine or highway components of the vibration coefficient significantly contributed to any of the regression models. We conclude that, at least under the conditions of temperate agricultural systems, wind turbines and highway infrastructures do not seem to have a negative effect on the long-term composition and structure of earthworm communities.

keywords: renewable energy, land use impact, soil biological activity, earthworm biomass


Characterisation of a brown infrastructure for earthworm preservation in fragmented urban areas

Jeanne Maréchal1,2, Kevin Hoeffner1, Rebecca Dingkuhn2, Suzanne Nourry1,2, Mathilde Huet1,2, Adam Derder1,2, Kevin Lledo3, Jennifer Scimia1, Lola Morand1, Sarah Guillocheau1, Etienne Lénack3, Xavier Marié2, Daniel Cluzeau1
1  University of Rennes, CNRS, ECOBIO [(Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution)] - UMR 6553, Rennes, France
2  Sol Paysage, 8 bis boulevard Dubreuil, F-91400 Orsay, France
3  Lambert Lénack, 80 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, F-75010 Paris, France

Ecological continuities were widely studied for the aerial biodiversity (e.g., birds, mammals) through the concept of blue-green infrastructure but the equivalent concept for soil biodiversity, the “brown infrastructure”, remains unclearly identified especially for species with low dispersal rates such as earthworms. Thus, we suggest defining the brown infrastructure as made up of pedological reservoirs and corridors allowing the movements of species living all their life stages in the soil (i.e., geobiont fauna) and with limited dispersal abilities (i.e., short or without legs, and wingless species). In urban areas, the brown infrastructure is highly influenced by anthropic activities (e.g., building construction, transport infrastructures) which modify and fragment soils. We aimed to propose a methodological approach of characterisation and cartography of the brown infrastructure in urban areas in order to favour its preservation or restoration in urban planning projects. We identified three main phases to characterise and localise the brown infrastructure in urban areas:

(1) A preliminary study from available georeferenced data aims to identify and to characterise the built and unbuilt surfaces, as finely as possible (∼1/10 000e), to draw the contours of a potential brown infrastructure. This first location allows to define, based on hypotheses, (i) reservoirs and corridors for earthworms, degrees of (ii) anthropisation (i.e., human-induced soil disturbance) and (iii) isolation (i.e., separation from a reservoir by anthropic discontinuities) of soils of the study site;

(2) A field study aims to confirm and precise the previous cartography including (2.1) the description of soil profiles and anthropic discontinuities allowing to cartograph types of soils of the potential brown infrastructure, and (2.2) earthworm samplings allowing to cartograph earthworm abundance and diversity;

(3) The cross-checking of the soil and earthworm data allows to discuss hypotheses made at the first step and to provide a characterisation of the functionality of the existing brown infrastructure. This methodology is currently being tested in the city of Palaiseau (91, France) and could provide an innovative tool for urban planning projects in favour of soil and biodiversity preservation.

keywords: Ecological continuity; soil fragmentation; soil artificialisation;  earthworm communities


Bioremediation of hydrocarbons in a pilot system with the combination of bioaugmentation, phytoremediation, and vermiremediation

S.M. Contreras-Ramos1, F. Martínez-Rabelo 1,L.A. Gómez-Guzmán 1, D.R. García-Segura 2, E. Villegas-García 1, J. Rodriguez-Campos 3, J.B. Velázquez-Fernández 4, B. Hernández-Castellanos 5, I. Barois 2
1  Unidad de Tecnología Ambiental, Centro de Investigación y Asistencia en Tecnología y Diseño del Estado de Jalisco A.C. (CIATEJ), Av. Normalistas No. 800, Col. Colinas de la Normal, 44270, Guadalajara, Jalisco, México.
2  Red de Ecología Funcional, Instituto de Ecología A.C. (INECOL), Carretera Antigua a Coatepec 351, El Haya, Xalapa 91070, Veracruz, México.
3  Servicios Analíticos y Metrológicos, Centro de Investigación y Asistencia en Tecnología y Diseño del Estado de Jalisco A.C. (CIATEJ), Av. Normalistas No. 800, Col. Colinas de la Normal, 44270, Guadalajara, Jalisco, México.
4  Conacyt- Unidad de Tecnología Ambiental, Centro de Investigación y Asistencia en Tecnología y Diseño del Estado de Jalisco A.C. (CIATEJ), Av. Normalistas No. 800, Col. Colinas de la Normal, 44270, Guadalajara, Jalisco, México.
5  Facultad de biología, Universidad Veracruzana, Circuito Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán s/n, Zona Universitaria, 91090 Xalapa, Veracruz, México.

This work aimed to validate in real conditions the removal of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) in a pilot system (on-site) of six piles of oil-contaminated soil with two treatments: bioremediation (BIO) with three technologies (bioaugmentation (bacterial consortium), phyto- (Panicum maximum) and vermiremediation (Pontoscolex corethrurus)) and natural attenuation (NA). Removal of alkanes, polycyclic aromatics (PAH), total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), and bacterial diversity was evaluated at 0, 35, 70, and 112 days to evaluate the soil remediation. Biomass and shoots of P. maximum, the secondary vegetation, and the abundance of meso and macrofauna were evaluated initially and at the end. After 112, BIO had a significantly greater removal of alkanes (76%), PAH (68%), and TPH (76%) than NA treatment (23%, 19%, 24%). P. maximum biomass increased significantly (300%), and its shoots were 97.3±11.8 m-2. After 112 days, the secondary plants Lippia dulcis, Taraxacum officinale, Bidens pilosa, and bacterial phylum Actinobacteria (18%) were the most abundant. The abundance of the earthworm Protozapotecia australis was reduced, while the most abundant group of mesofauna was Acari (56-71%). This combination of technologies improved the development of grass and secondary plants, generating a microhabitat more favorable for soil organisms, which helps to remove TPH.

keywords: consortium, Field bioremediation, P. maximum, P.corethrurus, Oil


Effect of different earthworm species on lead (Pb) bioaccumulation in Brassica campestris and their relationship with microbial characteristics.

Cevin Tibihenda1, Hesen Zhong1, Menghao Zhang1,Ling Xiao3, Ling Wu1, Kexue Liu2, Jun Dai1, Chi Zhang1
College of Natural Resources and Environment, South China Agricultural University, 510642, Guangzhou, China
Department of Resources and the Urban Planning, Xinhua College of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510520, China
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Shantou University, No. 243 Daxue Road, Shantou, Guangdong Province, 515063, China

This study focused on the influence of two ecological earthworm species (aneicicAmynthas aspergillum and epigeic Eisenia fetida ) on soil microbial indices, growth and Pb accumulation in Brassica campestris. Six treatments were conducted with four replicates at different concentration of Pb (0, 100, 500, and1000mg·kg-1). After 30 days of incubation, microbial biomass and communities (the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA), includes gram-positive (G+), gram-negative (G-), actinomycin (ACT), fungi (F), general bacteria (CB), and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and microbial activity (β-glucosidase (β-glu), N-acetylglucosamidase (NAG), acid and alkaline phosphatase (ACP and AKP), Fluorescein diacetate analysis (FDA) were evaluated. The plant growth indicators and the total Pb accumulated in their body tissue were examined as well. At non Pb addition, earthworms presence significantly decreased the contents of total PLFAs compared to control. As Pb concentration increased, the microbial biomass in earthworms treatments substantially increased, especially the maximum contents found in E. fetida treatedwith plants (p < 0.05). Moreover, the proportion of each microbial community to total biomass revealed in order: G+>G->ACT>F>CB>AMF. The ratio of fungi to bacteria and G+ to G- remarkably increased in earthworms treated with plants (p < 0.05).

In addition, β-glucosidase (β-glu) and N-acetylglucosamidase (NAG) activities were higher in treatment with plants alone, while all enzyme activities were higher in treatments inoculated with earthworms (p < 0.05). PCA analysis indicated significant soil microbial and plant characteristics in different treatments (p <0.05): Pb addition have stronger effects on soil microbial biomass and earthworm played critical effects on soil enzyme activities and the ratio of G+ and G-; similarly, the former were linked with plant biomass and Pb accumulation, but the latter were correlated mainly with leafy chlorophyll and area. The co-inertia analysis revealed the total Pb accumulated in correlated with plant growth indicators and soil microbial indices, but treatments inoculated with E. fetidawere much more associated than those of A. aspergillum(P < 0.001). This provides a theoretical basis for further modulating microbes in the interactive area of rhizosphere and drilosphere during soil remediation and food production to optimize the earthworm-assisted remediation technique

keywords: Earthworm; Plants; Soil; Microbial properties; Pb


Vermicomposting as ecological engineering to promote sustainability and circular economy in wineries

Jorge Domínguez

The discrepancy between high agricultural yields and ecosystem sustainability can only be overcome by major modification of ecosystem processes. Although green-revolution approaches focus on external manipulations, the internal manipulation of ecosystems has enormous potential to improve system performance, but with less severe environmental consequences. Vineyards are usually managed intensively to maximize wine production, which reduces soil biodiversity and decreases soil fertility and also causes environmental problems such as changes in primary production and nutrient cycling, reduction of aboveground biodiversity, high soil erosion rates, eutrophication and contamination of groundwater, and global warming.

This presentation provides an overview of the potential of earthworms and vermicomposting for circular economy and sustainable agriculture through the development of an integrated cycle that allows conversion in situ of the waste generated in the wine industry into vermicompost that can be used in the vineyards as a biofertilizer and soil amendment.

I will present the results of a long-term study in which grape marc generated during the production of white and red wine was processed in pilot-scale vermireactors and the vermicompost was applied in different formulations (solid and liquid) to the grapevines in the same vineyards where the grapes were harvested. The effects of the vermicompost on the vineyard soil and the grapevines were studied during several crop seasons in vineyards in two biogeoclimatic areas with different denominations of origin. Wine was made from grapes fertilized with vermicompost derived from grape marc and was compared with the standard wine produced in the wineries.

The results of this research have important implications for steering the wine industry towards a circular economy and sustainable and regenerative viticulture.

keywords: wine and winery by-products; vermicomposting; earthworms; vermicompost; grapevine; vineyards; sustainable agriculture; circular economy.


Vermicomposting Development throughout the World

Rhonda Sherman,
Horticultural Science Department, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC USA

Mid-to large-scale vermicomposting operations are increasing worldwide. They are managing organic wastes produced by farms, institutions, community gardens, businesses, industries, and municipalities. Vermicomposting operations feed earthworms livestock manures, kitchen food scraps, paper wastes, coffee chaff and grounds, spent mushroom waste, yard debris, humanure or sewage sludge, food-processing residuals, brewery wastes, horticultural residues, and other organic materials.

Diverse vermi-systems being used range from simple windrows and wedges, to bins and bags, and the more complex, less labor-intensive continuous flow-through (CFT) raised bins (which are sometimes called reactors). Most people construct their own continuous flow-through reactors, as there are limited commercial manufacturers and the systems are costly.

No matter what vermi-system is used, earthworm husbandry is the most important aspect of the vermicomposting operation. It is necessary to use the correct species of earthworms and they must be cared for in ways that help them to thrive and not try to wander away from the vermi-system. Temperature regulation is important since earthworms are cold-blooded animals. Their skin must be moist to enable them to breathe; therefore, moisture management is a key process control.

In addition to discussing other aspects of earthworm husbandry, the author will highlight large vermicomposting operations in several countries.

keywords: vermicomposting; earthworm husbandry



Earthworm abundance and diversity in EU agricultural systems, along a gradient of pesticides use. H2020-Sprint project

Esperanza Huerta Lwanga1,  Paula Harkes1, Vera Silva1, Dennis Knuth1, Rima Osman1, Noa Tabak1,Abdallah.alaoui2,Natacha Dorothée van Groeningen2, Francisco Alcon3, Josefa Contreras Gallego3, Daniele Mandriolid4, Daria Sgargi4Glavan Matjaž5, Isabel Baldi6, Elsa Robelot6, Nelson Abrantes7,Isabel Campos7,Trine Norgaard8, Lucius Tamm9, Marco Trevisan10, Nicoleta Siuciu10, Jennifer Mark9,Montserrat Marques3,Coen Ritsema1, Violette Geissen1
1  Soil Physics and Land Management Group. Wageningen University and Research
2  Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
3  Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Cartagena, Spain
4  Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, Ramazzini Institute, Bologna, Italy
5  Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
6  INSERM U1219, EPICENE Team, Bordeaux University, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
7  Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies and Department of Environment and Planning, University of Aveiro
8  Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
9  Research Institute of Organic Agriculture—FIBL, Frick, Switzerland
10  Department for Sustainable Food Process (DISTAS), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, Italy

In Europe between 420,000 and 500,000 tonnes of Plant Protection Products (PPP) are applied annually. Due to most of the applied PPP are not target specific, multiple PPP residues are found in agricultural soils. The H2020- Sprint project aims at developing a Global Health Risk Assessment Toolbox to assess the impacts of PPP on environment and human health. World-wide it is known  the extensive use of synthetic PPPs to promote plant production inindustrial/intensive, or conventional agriculture.Although the use of PPPs has been important in agriculture for many years, PPP are known to produce alterations to soil invertebrates specially earthworms. It has been observed that when the concentrations of pesticides decrease, the abundance and diversity of earthworms increase. Earthworms as soil ecosystem engineers play an important role in soil structure, organic matter decomposition or infiltration, they are good indicators of soil quality, therefore their abundance and diversity inform well over soil conditions. If their abundance is jeopardize several soil ecosystem services  are also affected. In this research monocrops of potatoes, cereals (ie. barley, wheat), vineyards, vegetables, olive trees, and peach trees among other agricultural sites were assessed for earthworms,  soil characterization, PPP concentrations and soil microbiome. Earthwormswere  hand-sorted from 25x25x25 monolithes, before PPP applications at 10 conventional and 10 organic  agricultural areas at 8 case study sites along Europe. Preliminary results indicate that agricultural areas with more sustainable practices (ie. less PPP applications) enhance  higher abundance and diversity of earthworms (ie. 222.40±104.4 ind.m2, ~6 sp), compared with those places with extreme environmental conditions and less sustainable practices. A gradient of earthworm adaptation is expected to be found, with endogeic earthworms predominantly observed at sites with high PPP use, towards sites with high abundance and diversity of earthworms as microbiome in sites  with low PPP use.

keywords: Pesticides gradient, earthworms diversity


Impact of different tillage systems and crop rotations on earthworm communities and soil characteristics

Davorka Hackenberger Kutuzović1, Branimir Hackenberger Kutuzović1, Olga Jovanović Glavaš1, Danijel Jug2, Irena Jug2, Boris Đurđević2, Bojana Brozović2
1  J. J. Strossmayer University, Department of Biology, Cara Hadrijana 8A, HR-31000 Osijek, Croatia
2  Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences Osijek, Vladimira Preloga 1, HR-31000 Osijek, Croatia

Increasing degradation of agricultural soils urges the need for following the principles of sustainable soil management. The importance of soil organisms for soil health and, consequently, sustainable agriculture in the future became widely acknowledged. FAO’s Status of the world’s soil resources in 2015 concluded that the loss of soil biodiversity is considered one of the main global threats to soils in many regions of the world. Conservation tillage has been associated with numerous soil quality parameters improvements including increased earthworm activity and biomass. Moreover, under conservation tillage earthworms can play a more important role by exploiting their abilities of  bioturbation and impact on nutrient cycling.

A long term experiment including three types of tillage (conventional tillage (ST), conservation tillage A (deep), conservation tillage B (shallow) and additional agrotechnical measures (liming, fertilizers, soil enhancer (Geo2) and a crop rotation was carried out at the Čačinci location in Croatia. After four years the impact on earthworm communities and soil physico-chemical characteristics was assessed. The treatments with conventional/standard tillage system was the most detrimental for an earthworm community, both in terms of species number and biomass. Additionally, preliminary results on the first year of experiment on the second location will be presented, where the identical experimental will be carried out for four years.

keywords: Conservation tillage; sustainable agriculture; crop residue


Using earthworms to understand soil health

Felicity Crotty

Earthworms are frequently used as the emblem of soil health, having a large effect on the physical soil environment, often referred to as ecosystem engineers, but also because they are obvious when in discussion with stakeholders. A number of studies have shown that generally earthworm abundance is detrimentally affected by intensity of agricultural management, with effects more pronounced in some species. Results obtained from field trials however, suggest that it is not as straightforward as hypothesised. The results suggest it is a continuum of relative disturbance effecting earthworm populations. Utilising long-term field trials, the heterogeneity of earthworm abundance across plots can be visualised and the implications discussed. Alongside this, a second study was undertaken focusing on “natural” ecosystems, where the management focus is conservation. Here, earthworm abundance and diversity is considered and shows that agricultural metrics can not be used for comparison across habitats.


The role of tree species in shaping the earthworm population in reclaimed areas.

Agnieszka Józefowska1, Bartłomiej Woś2, Marcin Pietrzykowski2
1 Department of Soil Science and Agrophysics, Faculty of Agriculture and Economics, University of Agriculture in Krakow, al. Mickiewicza 21, 30-120 Krakow
2 Department of Ecology and Silviculture, Faculty of Forestry, University of Agriculture in Krakow, al. 29 Listopada 46, 31-425 Krakow, Poland

Soil development and natural succession in areas degraded as a result of mining activity are prolonged. Human intervention after such large-scale transformations may consist of afforestation of areas with various species of trees. The introduction of vegetation initiates soil formation (post-mining soil) providing organic matter, at the beginning of soil restoration increases the activity of soil microorganisms; in the next stage soil fauna appears, which promotes better growth of trees and initiates the soil formation process.The presence of soil fauna in reclaimed areas can be a good measure of soil quality.

Research plots were located in the opencast sand mine reclaimed to the forest after sand extraction (Szczakowa, Poland). The plots were established in pure stands of Pinus sylvestris L., andBetula pendula Roth in two variants of the substrate (sand and loam) and natural succession on the loamy substrate. Each variant was investigated in four repetitions. Soil properties such as soil organic carbon and total nitrogen content, pH, dissolved organic carbon, and water resistance of soil aggregates were analysed. Earthworms were hand-sorted from soil blocks measuring 25x25 cm and 20 cm in-depth, from deeper soil layers’ earthworms were extracted using a solution of mustard oil 0.2% (allyl isothiocyanate dispersed in isopropanol).

Earthworm density was low and ranged from 4 ind. m-2to 64 ind. m-2in the variant with Pine on sand and Birch on loam, respectively. The same was the biomass of earthworms which ranged from 1 g m-2 to 21 g m-2. Only species from the epigeic and anecic groups were present in all the studied soils.

Earthworm density was closely correlated with soil pH and the ratio of carbon to nitrogen in the mineral part of the soil. Soil texture was the key factor differentiating the presence of earthworms. In addition, tree species were also an important factor but only in the loamy substrate.

This research was funded in whole by The National Science Centre, Poland, grant No.2021/42/E/ST10/00248

keywords: Post-mining soil; soil quality; earthworms


How do different management practices on semi-natural grasslands affect earthworm communities? A case study from Pieniny – Poland

Agnieszka Józefowska1, Jan Zarzycki2
1 Department of Soil Science and Agrophysics, Faculty of Agriculture and Economics, University of Agriculture in Krakow, al. Mickiewicza 21, 30-120 Krakow
Department of Ecology, Climatology and Air Protection, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland

Semi-natural meadows are an integral part of the Carpathian Mountains’ landscape and very often are protected in Natura 2000 network. The presented study aimed to check the effect of different management practices on soil properties, plants and species composition of earthworms.

Different management practices (A - mowing with hay removing, B – mowing with hay removing and with compost fertilisation and C – mulching) were applied form 2015. The experiment was organised on a meadow belonging to Anthyllidi-Trifolietum montani in the Latin square design, where each variant had 3 reps. The samples were collected in 2018 and 2021. Soil properties such as soil organic carbon and total nitrogen content, pH, microbial biomass carbon, dissolved organic carbon, and water resistance of soil aggregates were analysed. Earthworms were hand-sorted from soil blocks measuring 25x25 cm and 20 cm in-depth, from deeper soil layers’ earthworms were extracted using a solution of mustard oil 0.2% (allyl isothiocyanate dispersed in isopropanol). Earthworms density (ED), biomass (EB) and diversity were measured in the spring and autumn of 2018 and 2021.

ED varied depending on the way of use in particular years of research. Three years after the start of the experiment, the lowest ED was in the variant A 517 ind. m-2 and the highest in B 893 ind. m-2. After six years, a decrease in ED was noted on all the examined plots. After six years, ED  was the lowest in variant B 304 ind. m-2 and the highest in C 498 ind. m-2. Taking into consideration ecological group endogeic species were affected by term and variant, epigeic and anecic species were affected by the term. EB ranged from 65 g m-2 in variant B in autumn 2021 to 179 g m-2 in the same variant but autumn 2018.

The impact of the management practices on the earthworms in soils changed during the experiment, at the beginning the compost had a stimulating effect, but after six years there was a decrease in the presence of earthworms in the variant with compost. The population of earthworms in variant A was the most stable over time.

keywords: Mowing, mulching, compost


The Eternal Rye and earthworms: – A case study for long-term effects on agricultural intensification

C. Huber2,P. Euteneuer1, H. Wagentristl1, R. Neugschwandtner2, L. Sturm2,K. R. Butt3
1 University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna; Department of Crop Science, Experimental Farm, Gross-Enzersdorf, Austria
2 University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna; Department of Crop Science, Institute of Agronomy, Tulln, Austria
3 University of Central Lancashire, School of Natural Science, Preston, United Kingdom

In arable fields, earthworm abundance declines with the level of intensification, due to soil disturbance or decreasing food. In this context, ploughing and continuous cropping of monocultures are major drivers for the fading of earthworm populations, but the impact offertilisation is not yet sufficiently addressed. Therefore, the earthworm population of the “Eternal Rye”, a 116-year field trial with three fertilisation regimes and two cropping sequences was investigated. Thistrial was instigated in 1906 at the experimental farm of the University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna. The field experiment is two-factorial with cropping sequences crop rotation (Winter rye (Secale cereale) – Spring barley (Hordeum vulgare) –Bare fallow) orcontinuous cropping of winter rye, and fertilizer treatmentsfarmyard manure (FYM), mineral fertilizer or unfertilised. Straw was removed every year after harvest and plots were ploughed before sowing of rye in late October. Earthworms were investigatedonly under rye (crop rotation rye or continuous rye) and bare fallow in April 2020 and 2021 by hand searching of soil. Results show that onlyfertilisation hadan impact on earthworm populationwith the highest abundance (no. m-2) in plots of FYM(72.9 ± 39.8)followed by mineral fertiliser(21.6 ± 14.2) andunfertilised (8.08 ± 8.54). The most abundant species was Allolobophora chlorotica under FYM and mineral fertilizer, followed by small numbers of Aporrectodea caliginosa, Aporrectodea rosea andLumbricus terrestris.Interestingly, L. terrestris was observedonly in FYM(2.37 ± 3.62 individuals m-2).In contrast to earthworm data, soil moisture in spring was mostly affected by cropping sequences with driest soil (% moisture) under bare fallow (15 ± 3.02), then continuous rye and rye in crop rotation (20.5 ± 20.06; 21.9 ± 1.98; respectively). The impact of fertiliser typeon earthwormsin the current trial is based on the nutrition status of the soil and the availability of food. The Eternal Rye may be a glimpse into the futurefor long-term effects on agricultural intensification.

keywords: Agricultural practices; Crop rotation; Earthworms; Fertiliser; Long-term field trial


Effect on earthworm’s communities of different organic fraction of municipal solid waste treatments applied on field

Vincent Ducasse1,2, Yvan Capowiez1, Joséphine Peigné2
1  INRAE, EMMAH, UMR 1114 INRAE-Avignon University, Domaine Saint Paul, F-84914 Avignon cedex 09, France
2  Department of Agroecology and Environment, ISARA (member of the University of Lyon), 23 rue Jean Baldassini, 69364, Lyon cedex 07, France

With increasing population and urbanization, the amount of waste increases and so does the need for food. At the same time, environmental issues are pushing for the development of a more sustainable agriculture. The recycling of organic fraction of municipal waste (OFMSW) as an amendment is potentially a solution to the reduction of waste and chemical inputs in agriculture. Organic matter (OM) from different OFMSW treatments was applied to a field crop under no-tillage organic farming for two consecutive years on a randomized block design with 4 replicates. Compost made from an electro-mechanical composter (OFMSW + shredded material from selective), vermicompost from a collective vermicomposter (OFMSW + cardboard) and digestate from anaerobic digestion without phase separation (OFMSW + agricultural waste) were applied at 60 and 120 kg/N/ha on barley and 80 and 160 kg/ha on wheat for compost and vermicompost, and only 60 and 80 kg/N/ha for digestate in order to avoid leaching of the product and pollution of groundwater. We followed the evolution of the biomass and abundance of earthworms by identifying the species, the stage (adult or juvenile) and the ecological categories. This two-year experiment shows that vermicompost (whatever dose) increases earthworm biomass. Digestate (even at low doses) and compost (only at high doses) also increased earthworm biomass. Regarding of earthworm abundance, the vermicompost plots had the highest effect compared to the digestate and compost treatments. The generalized linear model (GLM) shows that vermicompost allows the development of a perennial population (abundance and biomass) over the two years and more important than compost (effect only after two years) and digestate which has only a short-term effect on the populations (biomass boost).

keywords: Earthworm ; Field experiment ; Compost ; Vermicompost ; Digestate


Cover crop choice in dry agricultural regions -A trade-off between farmer and earthworm demands

P. Euteneuer1, H. Wagentristl1,L. Hoos2, M. März2, P. Fotzinger2,J. G, Zaller2, K. R. Butt3
1  University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna; Department of Crop Science, Experimental Farm, Gross-Enzersdorf, Austria
2 University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna; Department of Integrative Biology and Biodiversity Research, Institute of Zoology, Vienna, Austria
3  University of Central Lancashire, School of Natural Science, Preston, United Kingdom

Seeding cover crops over winter is a farming practice used mainly to impede soil erosion and to suppress weeds. In addition, cover crops provide food and habitat for soil fauna such as earthworms. These ecosystem services of cover crops are achieved by covering the soil with a high plant biomass. Nevertheless, in areas with low precipitation such asNorth-East Austria, farmers are reluctant to apply cover crops, to reduce seeding costs and to save soilwater.Therefore, a trade-off between farmer demands and soil fauna conservation can assist sustainable agriculture. To determine the impact of soil moisture on earthworm populations,ongoing field trials with different irrigation regimes (irrigated vs rain-fed)have beenconducted from 2019–2021/22 at the University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna (Austria). Cover crops used were Sudan grass (SG; Sorghum sudanese), grass pea (GP; Lathyrus sativus), radish (RD; Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus) in single stands, compound (MIX), in high and low seeding density and bare fallow (BF) serving as control. Cover cropand weed biomass were cut in November 2019-2021 and earthworms were searchedfor from soil monoliths of 20×20×30 cm in October 2019-2021,in April 2020 and March 2021. Preliminary results of earthworm numbers showed interactions of  cover crop treatments×season×year with similar abundances among treatments in autumn, but highest numbers in spring 2021 in MIX (irrigated), MIXand RD (rain-fed) compared to BF (irrigated and rain-fed). Similar was seen in 2019-2021 with topsoil moisture (0-7 cm) with driest soil under BF compared to cover crops with high biomass production such as MIX, GP and SG. High biomass production also reduced weed biomass and was affected by cover crop treatments, year and seed density. Further data analyses seek to identify critical time periods for earthworm communities (numbers and species) related to soil moisture and plant biomass. Overall, MIX combinesbenefits of reducing weed biomass, increasing topsoil moisture and earthworm abundance and outlines a practicable solution for soil and soil fauna conservation in dry areas.

keywords: Agricultural management; catch crop ; earthworms; soil conservation; soil moisture


Effects of tillage systems on earthworm abundance, biomass and species compositionin the Pannonian Basin

B. Simon1, M. Birkás2, I. Dekemati2, T. M. I. Hanaa1, M. M. Modiba1, J. Grósz3, R. W. Neugschwandtner4, P. Euteneuer5
1 Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Soil Science, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Gödöllő, Hungary
2 Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Agronomy, Institute of Crop Production Sciences, Gödöllő, Hungary
3  Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Water Management and Climate Adaptation, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Gödöllő, Hungary
4  University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Department of Crop Sciences, Tullna.d. Donau, Austria
5  University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Department of Crop Sciences, Experimental Farm, Gross-Enzersdorf, Austria

Soil tillage has major impacts on biological, physical and chemical soil parameters. Soil fauna, such as earthworms are particularlythreatened by increasing intensification of soil tillage. Soil tillage affects the whole earthworm community in abundance, biomass and species composition. Therefore, two long-term soil tillage experiments in North-East Austria (AT) and Central-North Hungary (HU) were studied between 2020 and 2021 to get deeper insights for the dry Pannonian climate. Both trials contained three soil tillage systems of mouldboard ploughing (P), reduced tillage (SC) and direct seeding with no-till (NT). Earthworms were sampled in spring and autumn of 2020 and 2021 by hand-sorting of 20 × 20 × 30 cm soil blocks. Basic soil chemical (pH, soil organic carbon, CaCO3content) and physical parameters (soil moisture content, bulk density, soil penetration resistance, texture) were determined. Comparison of both sites showed seasonal variations in earthworm numbers in AT with lower numbers in spring and higher numbers in autumn, but with similar abundance in HU in spring and autumn. Overall, highest earthworm abundance at both sites were determined in NT followed by SC and then P in HU, but without differences between SC and P in AT. Juvenile: adult ratio was similar between sites and soil tillage systems (4.8±0.9), except for NT in AT (23±61). In addition, Lumbricusterrestris were mainly found in NT in AT with four species in total. In HU, only two earthworm species (Ap. rosea, Ap. caliginosa) were detected in P treatment, two additional species (Ap. georgii, All. chlorotica), and greater abundance were found especially in NT, but also in SC. According to these results, NT systems provided a better environment for earthworms and a slightly higher species richness also in dry areas like the Pannonian Basin.

keywords: Earthworm; intensive agriculture; long-term field trial; soil conservation ; species richness


The earthworms of silvopastoral systems from Mexico: the role of the traditional bullfighting cattle production system for native species maintenance

Cervantes Gabriela., Juárez Dionicio., Aragón Agustín
Center of Agroecology, Institute of Sciences, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP).

As a part of a general project to evaluate the sustainability of the bullfighting cattle silvopastoral system from Mexico, we sampled earthworms in cattle ranches from Central and Western Mexico (Guanajuato, Tlaxcala, and the Zacatecas States). These traditional silvopastoral systems are a mosaic landscape composed of oak and pine forests, reforestation areas, grasslands, wheat and oat crops, cornfields, and paddock. Sampling was conducted during the years 2018 and 2019. Sampling was mainly qualitative, although in some sites 10 quantitative monoliths were made (30 x 30 cm wide and 20 cm depth). We found 9 species, 3 native (Acanthodrilidae sp. nov., Diplocardia sp. nov. and Protozapotecia australis) and 6 exotic (Aporrectodea trapezoides, Dendrodrilus rubidus, Dichogaster affinis, Eisenia foetida, Lumbricus rubellus, and Octolasion tyrtaeum).

The presence of three native earthworm species indicates that is adequate management of the forests and agroecosystems in the fighting bull cattle production system from Mexico. It is important to highlight that the ranch lands have served as refuges for the conservation of endemic earthworms. The same pattern was observed in other invertebrates and then in mammals. This is an unusual earthworm phaenomen on because according to Fragoso (2007), the distribution of Mexican endemic earthworms is generally restricted to pristine natural ecosystems. Therefore, we concluded that the environment in which fighting bulls are produced constitutes a great value for biodiversity conservationand social value, and therefore, we recommended claring the area as a fauna protection zone

keywords: Agroecology; Silvopastoral system; Acanthodrilidade; Lumbricidae


Ecological restoration on the edge of an organic legumes crop positively affects earthworm community and other edaphic fauna

Mónica Gutiérrez-López, Susana Pardo-Beltrán, Irene de Sosa, Alejandro Martínez-Navarro, Dolores Trigo
Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution Department, Faculty of Biology, Complutense University of Madrid, C/José Antonio Nováis 12, 28040, Madrid, Spain.

Intensive agricultural practices have been shown to affect human health and soil fertility and quality. Ecological restoration of agricultural systems is a good way to counteract the negative effects of such intensive use. In this study, we investigated how the planting of shrub hedgerows at the edge of a dry legume crop in Novés (Toledo) affects soil physical properties and on eathrworms and miroarthropod communities. The study is part of the Fields of Life project (from the International Foundation for the Restoration of Ecosystems), which deals with agroecological restoration of crops, such as planting hedgerows along the edges. Samples of soil, earthworms, and edaphic microarthropods were collected at regular intervals at varying distances from the edges up to 20 meters toward the crops, in areas with and without hedgerows. Soil physical parameters were measured and earthworms and microarthropods were identified in the soil. Several indices of soil quality, such as QBS and QBS-e, were calculated. Soil in the hedge zone was sandier, had higher bulk density, and lower moisture and porosity. Only two earthworm species were found, one endogenous species (Aporrectodearosea), which was distributed throughout the cultivation, and one anecic species (A. trapezoides), which was more abundant under the hedgerows. A greater number of microarthropods were observed in the hedgerow zone. Finally, higher soil quality, as measured by the QBS index, was observed in the hedgerow zone, confirming that planting hedgerows on the border is a good method for agroecological restoration of cultivated land.

keywords: Ecological restoration; dry crops; hedge planting, soil fauna; soil properties.


The "earthworm basket" method appears promising for measuring mulch burial in on-farm research

L. Leveau, A. Fockedey, X. Belin and P. Bertin
UCLouvain, Earth & Life Institute - Agronomy, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Earthworms contribute to the dynamics of organic matter by collecting, burying, and ingesting plant litter. The "earthworm basket" protocol of EcoBioSoil (Rennes) allows observing part of these phenomena by placing baskets of chopped straw against the ground for several months. This participatory method is intended for the lay public. However, it seems interesting for identifying agricultural practices that enhance earthworm ecosystem services. Yet, no published data validates the appropriateness of this protocol for on-farm research purposes.

To obtain such data, we conducted the "earthworm basket" protocol in 20 Walloon winter wheat fields, each on a different farm. The fields had similar environments - slope, soil type, climate - but were cultivated with various practices that we documented over 10 years. From wheat sowing to April 2021, we counted castings and middens in the baskets. We then quantified the total buried straw by measuring its surface and weight loss. Here, we discuss the methodological and agronomic outcomes of the experiment.

The protocol was workable as it is, but some simplifications could make it less burdensome. The results variability was greater between than within fields. Multivariate analyses (PCA) showed links between earthworm burial activity and agricultural practices that are coherent with the literature. In particular, the amount of straw buried was positively correlated with the frequency of organic fertilization and with the time since the last plowing. It was negatively correlated with cumulative tillage depth and plowing frequency.

Considering these results, using EcoBioSoil's "earthworm basket" protocol in the context of on-field agronomic research seems promising. However, we found that late installation of some baskets, due to late sowing of wheat in some fields, led to lower earthworm activity. In 2022, we will try mitigating this effect by installing baskets from February to June in 20 other wheat fields from the same region.

keywords: Earthworm; Mulch burial; Basket protocol; Straw; Agricultural practices


The effect of humate fertilizer on earthworm community structure and crop yield

Merit Sutri1, Mari Ivask1,2, Annely Kuu1, Marian Põldmets1, Merrit Shanskiy1
Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Chair of Soil Science, Kreutzwaldi Str. 1, Tartu, 51014 Estonia
Tallinn University of Technology, Tartu College, Puiestee Str. 78, 51008 Tartu, Estonia

Humic substances are organic compounds that can improve soil properties by increasing soil fertility, water-holdingcapacity and providing energy for soil organisms, which is why the use of humate fertilizers can be a promising solution for sustainable agriculture. Soil organisms can be used to assess the sustainability of agricultural management practices due to their role in soil functioning and sensitivity towards changes in their environment. This study aimed to investigate the impact of humate fertilizer onthe earthworm community, microbial activity and crop yield of Brassica nigra and winter wheat on sandy clay loam soil. A field experiment with a split-plot design was established in 2020 to study the effect of granulated humate fertilizer applied at two rates – 100 ml/m2(HF100)and 500 ml/m2(HF500). The results showed that on the year of application, the abundance and number of species was lowest for soils treated with HF500 and highest under HF100 (non-significant). The latter tended to have a more positive effect on species diversity and community structure indicated by the presence of epigeic species relative toHF500 treatment. The absence of sensitive epigeic species Lumbricus rubellus and the dominance of Aporrectodea caliginosa and Aporrectodea rosea underHF500 treatment suggest limiting ecological conditions. The negative impact of the use of higher rate reduced on the subsequent year in terms of earthworm abundance, however, the differences in the earthworm community structure persisted. Soil respiratory activity correlated positively with humate fertilizer rate (ρ=0.95, p=0.0138), which was57% and 124% higher underHF500 treatment relative toHF100 and control on the year of soil amendment. The treatment had a significant impact on the yield of Brassica nigra(F=42.3, p=0.0003) and winter wheat (F=59.7, p=0.0001). The yield of Brassica nigrawas 19% and 42% higher under HF500 relative to HF100 treatment and control, respectively. A year after soil amendment, the yield of winter wheat was18% and 54% higherfor HF500 compared to HF100 and control. Humate fertilizers show great potential for improving crop yield, however, the long-term influence of applying high rates on soil biological properties and sustainability needs further investigation.

keywords: earthworms; microbial community;humic substances; brassica nigra


Effects of Lumbricus terrestris L. population size on incorporation of cereal harvest residues in no-till agroecosystems

Peter Bentley1, Kevin Butt1, Visa Nuutinen2
School of Natural Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, PR12HE.
Natural Resources Institute (LUKE), Humppilantie 14, 31600, Jokioinen, Finland

In direct-drilled agroecosystems, the presence of Lumbricus terrestris L. populations could be a key driver in the replenishment of soil organic matter stocks post-harvest. Although L. terrestris can increase the rate of surface organic matter removal, this, and impact on direct drilled systems under different climatic conditions is still to be quantified. A field experiment was designed to determine the incorporation of cereal straw residues at 3 direct-drilled agricultural sites in SW Finland. Following autumn harvest, equal masses of straw residues were applied on the soil surface in areas of recorded high L. terrestris density (LT+) and low L. terrestris density (LT-). Residues were covered with metal caging and left on the soil surface until spring sowing, when the change in residue mass was recorded and plots were sampled for earthworms. Findings indicated that straw mass removal was 4.6 ± 0.62% higher under LT+ treatments. Earthworm casting from within the residues were also analysed. Findings indicated a positive correlation between increased surface casting with L. terrestris density (r2 = 0.6). Analysis of species abundance relationships indicated that L. terrestris density had a positive relationship with endogeic populations and a negative relationship with epigeics, where high juvenile L. terrestris densities in Spring may have led to competition. This experiment provided initial evidence of the positive impact that L. terrestris population density has on SOM removal. Further exploration of effects of climatic conditions on L. terrestris activity could be used to inform land managers of the impacts of residue burial in sustainable agroecosystems.

keywords: Lumbricus terrestris; residue burial; soil organic matter; agroecosystems

Effects of temporary grassland introduction into annual crop rotations and nitrogen fertilisation on earthworm communities and forage production

Kevin Hoeffner1,2, Hoël Hotte1, Daniel Cluzeau1, Xavier Charrier3, François Gastal3, Guénola Pérès2
1  University of Rennes, CNRS, ECOBIO [(Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution)] - UMR 6553, Rennes, France
2  UMR SAS, INRAE, AGROCAMPUS OUEST 35000 Rennes, France,
3  UE FERLUS, INRAE, 86600 Lusignan, France

Earthworms contribute to a wide range of ecosystem services in agriculture. Most studies focusing on impacts of annual crop management on earthworm communities are related to soil tillage, fertilisation or pesticides, while the effect of crop rotations remains largely unknown. However, grassland introduction in crop rotation is considered as one pillar of agroecology practices as it should contribute to the restoration of soil biodiversity and its functions. In this context, the aims of the present study were to evaluate effects of (i) introducing grassland into a crop rotation, (ii) grassland duration and (iii) grassland fertilisation on earthworm communities and grassland forage production in a long-term observatory in western France. Three years of highly fertilised (230 kg ha-1 yr-1 of mineral nitrogen) grassland preceded by three years of annual crop rotation was compared to an annual crop rotation without grassland and to six years of grassland fertilised either lightly (30 kg ha-1 yr-1 of mineral nitrogen) or highly (230 kg ha-1 yr-1 of mineral nitrogen). Grassland introduction into a crop rotation significantly increased earthworm abundance, biomass, and species richness, especially for anecic earthworms, and improved the functional structure of the earthworm community. Grassland duration and fertilisation increased earthworm abundance and biomass, especially for anecics, without affecting endogeic earthworms. Grassland duration did not increase forage production, but the increase in fertilisation did. Three years of fertilised grassland in a crop rotation seems to be a good compromise between grassland duration and fertilisation because it significantly increases earthworm abundance and biomass, improves the functional structure of the earthworm community and produces as much forage per year as six years of fertilised grassland. Overall, given the important functional role of earthworms in soils, the introduction of grassland into annual crop rotations appears an appropriate way to rapidly increase earthworm community parameters and thus improve soil functioning.

keywords: Grassland duration; grassland input; grass composition; soil fauna


Can the smartphone application SLAKES distinguish between earthworm-influenced soil and bulk soil?

L. Sturm2, P. Euteneuer1,V. Waschnig1, H. Wagentristl1, R. Neugschwandtner2, K. R. Butt3
1 University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna; Department of Crop Science, Experimental Farm, Gross-Enzersdorf, Austria
2 University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna; Department of Crop Science, Institute of Agronomy, Tulln, Austria
3  University of Central Lancashire, School of Natural Science, Preston, United Kingdom

Earthworms can support aggregate formation and stability during gut passage, burrowing activity and secretion of polysaccharides. In 2020,Lumbricus terrestris were inoculatedinto a 23-year-old soil tillage field experiment with ploughing, cultivator or no-till. After seeding of maize in May 2020, 14 earthworms m-²werereleased into enclosures. The aim was to investigate effects of enhanced vs ambient earthworm populations on soil parameters such as soil aggregate size and stability. In November 2020 (maize) and in April 2021 (following winter wheat), soil samples were collected to 10 cm depth(10 cm dia.) around burrows ofL. terrestris(burrow) or away from burrows (control). Samples were hand-searched for earthwormsor air-dried and sieved through a vibratory sieve shaker to determine mean-weight diameter (MWD) from 40 -1.25 mm (6 levels). Five mm samples were thenanalysed with SLAKES a smartphone application devisedby the University of Sydney (Australia). SLAKES measures the slaking index of soil aggregates immersed in deionized water by an image recognition algorithm within 10 min.Preliminary results showed an increased abundance of earthworms in November 2020 around burrowscompared with controls, but no differences in MWD. In April2021, earthworm abundance was similar for both burrow and control, butMWD was lower around the former. On both sampling dates, SLAKES distinguished between the three soil tillage systems. In addition,in Nov 2020, SLAKES identifieda more stable soil around burrows than control. In April 2021, an earthworm × soil tillage interaction was determined with less stable soil aggregates in burrows in ploughed plots compared to other treatments.The differences between November and April might be explained by theshorter time earthworms had to process soil and age of the burrows (five months to November and three months to April). In a next step, earthworm casts will be investigated and standard analyses such as wet sieving are planned. SLAKES is a simple method and first results show that it hasthe potential application to identify earthworm-processed soil.

keywords: Earthworm enhancement; Earthworm-processed soil, Image analyses; Smartphone application;Soil tillage


Utilisation of grassland vegetation is favourable to the development of earthworm communities

Kevin Hoeffner1,2, Frédérique Louault3, Lou Lerner2, Daniel Cluzeau1, Guénola Pérès2
1  University of Rennes, CNRS, ECOBIO [(Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution)] - UMR 6553, Rennes, France
2  UMR SAS, INRAE, AGROCAMPUS OUEST 35000 Rennes, France
3 Université Clermont Auvergne, INRAE, VetAgro Sup, UMR Ecosystème Prairial, 63000 Clermont‐Ferrand, France

Earthworms contribute to the major soil processes which determine most of the ecosystem services of grassland. The quantity and quality of the vegetation are key factors in maintaining earthworm communities, however effects of different herbage utilization on earthworm remain largely unknown. In this context, the aim of the present study was to determine the long-term effects of (i) herbage utilisation, (ii) animal presence, (iii) animal grazing intensity and (vi) grazing species (sheep or cattle) on the vegetation and earthworm communities in mesophile permanent grasslands. Vegetation and earthworms were sampled in a 15-years-old experiment in ACBB Theix site (Massif central, France) in the beginning of April 2019. Abandoned and mowed grasslands were compared with pastures grazed at low or high intensities by cattle or by sheep, but at low grazing intensity only. Regarding vegetation, herbage utilisation by grazing or by mowing significantly decreased plant standing biomass (at least 1.7 times) compared to the abandoned treatment. The differences in plant standing biomass were associated with a significant change in plant community structure. Regarding earthworm communities, vegetation utilisation by grazing and mowing significantly increased earthworm biomass, total richness and Shannon index compared to the abandoned treatment. Except for the pastures grazed by cattle with a higher herbage utilisation level, earthworm abundance was at least 2.0 times as high in the grazing with low herbage utilisation level or mowing treatments as in the abandoned treatment. Earthworm communities were significantly different between grazed and mowed treatments notably due to changes within strict-anecic and endogeic earthworms. Overall, the utilisation of the vegetation by animals or by mechanical export is beneficial for earthworm communities. Results of each parameter will be presented and discussed as well as the perspectives about grassland management in Europe.

keywords: Permanent grassland, grazing, cattle, sheep, mowing, vegetation


Hierarchization of the effect of agricultural practices on earthworm communities

Abdourahmane Diallo1, Daniel Cluzeau1, Lola Morand1, Pascaline Le Gouar1, Sarah Guillocheau1,2 Nathan Lévêque1, Pierrick Sorgniard3, Kevin Hoeffner1
1  University of Rennes, CNRS, ECOBIO [(Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution)] - UMR 6553, Rennes, France
2  Micro-company, MME Guillocheau Sarah, Mauron, France
3  Agricultural cooperative of Le Gouessant, Lamballe, France

Earthworms contribute to a multitude of ecosystem services in agricultural soils. However, earthworms are subject to agricultural practices and most studies that have evaluated the effect of agricultural practices on earthworm communities have been conducted on a reduced combination of practices (specific to tillage, rotations, pesticides...) whereas the combination of certain practices can compensate or aggravate their effect on earthworm communities. Thus, the aim of the present work was to evaluate conjointly the effects of (i) tillage (either ploughing or a simplified cultivation technique), (ii) nitrogen (N) fertilization (either mineral or organic and amount from 0 to 180 and from 0 to 355 units of N.ha-1 for mineral and organic respectively), (iii) pesticide application (index of frequency for herbicides and non-herbicides) and (iv) the number of plant species in the rotation (from 3 to 5) on earthworm communities. The study was conducted on a field network of 26 annual crops in Brittany (France). Earthworms were sampled each spring between 2017 and 2020 by hand-sorting (20x20x25 cm) then earthworms were counted, weighted and the species were identified in the laboratory. We used generalized linear mixed models to test the combined effects of agricultural practices on earthworm community parameters (total abundance and biomass, richness and ecological categories). Ploughing had a negative effect on total biomass and richness as well as abundance of anecic earthworms. Increasing the number of plant species in the rotation and mineral fertilization increased epigeic abundance. Organic fertilization and pesticides application had no effect on the selected parameters of earthworm communities. The results of this study highlight the importance of taking several factors into account when assessing the effects of various farming practices on earthworms. Details of this study will be presented, i.e. study sites, results and discussions addressed to farmers.

keywords: tillage; crop rotations; pesticide application; fertilization


Effect of cocoa pod decomposition on earthworm density in agroforestry systems of the Dominican Republic

R. Marichal1,2,M. Guittonneau1,2,3, O. Deheuvels1,2,4
1  CIRAD, UMR ABSys, F-34398 Montpellier, France
2  ABSys, Univ Montpellier, CIHEAM-IAMM, CIRAD, INRAE, InstitutAgro, Montpellier, France
3  ISARA, Lyon, France
4  CEDAF, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Cocoa-based agroforestrysystems (Cocoa AFS), that combine at least onecropin association withcocoa trees, often aim at optimizing ecological and economical interactions among their components. CocoaAFS have been widely described in the literature for their high taxonomic and functionaldiversity, includingthe soil biota. However, in these agrosystems the interactions between agricultural practices and earthworm communities are poorly documented. A common harvestingpractice all over cocoa producing countries consists in piling the harvested cocoapods on a determined area of the plantation floor before opening them. The cocoa beans are extracted and carried out of the plantationsfor further post-harvesting processes, but pod husks remain and decompose on the ground.We compared earthworm densities and some morphological traits (length and body mass) under cacao pods and leaf litterin 42cocoa AFS distributed among 4 age classes:0-3, 4-10, 11-25 and > 70 yearsin the Dominican Republic. The TSBF method was implemented: extraction of 25 x 25 cm, 20 cm depth soil monolith and hand sorting of earthworms (total of 120 TSBF). Earthworm densities were calculated and morphological traits measured. Earthworm densities were significantly higher under cacao pods than leaf litter.Earthworm lengths were slightly higher under cacao pods than under leaf litter in 11-25 years age class. Cocoa pods decomposition lead to earthworm densities increasing and, consequently,to a stimulation of ecological functions that they provide. Further studies are needed to confirmthese results, that could lead toa recommendation to spread pod husks over the plantation floor when harvesting cocoa, taking into accountthe current sanitary recommendations for harvesting.

keywords: Agroforestry; cacao; cocoa pods, earthworms, harvesting practices


Comparative study on the effects of tetracycline content on aerobic composting and vermicomposting processes

LI Jinjin1, SHI Yijing1, WEN Ting1, CHEN Yunfeng2, ZHANG Yufeng3, WU Yupeng1,*
1  College of Resources and Environment, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070
2  Key Laboratory of Fertilization from Agricultural Wastes, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Wuhan 430064
3  College of Life Sciences, Langfang Normal University, Langfang 065000

Aerobic composting and vermicomposting are effective ways to achieve organic fertilizer from livestock manure, however, it is not clear whether tetracycline with different concentrations in livestock manure will change the composting process. Therefore, in this study, tetracycline with different concentrations (5, 25, 125 mg·kg-1) was added to cow manure-straw mixed materials. Then, the changes of compost maturity index, tetracycline removal efficiency and nutrient content of compost products were measured in the aerobic composting and vermicomposting. The aim of the present study is to provide an appropriate disposal method for livestock manure to make compost with different tetracycline concentrations. The results showed that high concentration of tetracycline (125 mg·kg-1) delayed the heating process of aerobic composting. However, there was no significant (p<0.05) difference on maturity index, total nutrient content and available nutrient content of compost products between the treatments with different tetracycline concentrations during the aerobic composting. High concentration of tetracycline (125 mg·kg-1) resulted in a significant decrease in the density and biomass of earthworm, which suspended the start of vermicomposting. There was no significant difference in the maturity index, total nutrient content and available nutrient content of compost products between low concentration (5 and 25 mg·kg-1) tetracycline treatments during the vermicomposting. The removal rate of tetracycline in livestock manure by aerobic composting was more than 90%, which was significantly higher than that of vermicomposting with low concentration of tetracycline (5 and 25 mg·kg-1 i.e. up to 80%). However, the composting products obtained from vermicomposting showed a significant higher available nutrient content, GI value and significant lower pH value, C / N ratio than the products from aerobic composting. Therefore, vermicomposting is suggested for the treatment of livestock manure with low concentration of tetracycline, to obtain a better quality composting products. While aerobic compost can be used in the treatment of livestock manure with high concentration of tetracycline.

keywords: aerobic composting; vermicomposting; livestock manure; tetracycline content; maturity indices


Biochemical response of the tropical earthworm  Balanteodrilus sp to agricultural soils in the Yucatan Peninsula

Lucero Elida Sanchez del Cid, Jaime Rendon von Osten2, Carmen Gonzales Chavez3, Arturo Torres Dosal1, Esperanza Huerta Lwanga1,4
1  Agroecologia, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur. Campeche. Mexico
2  EPOMEX, Universidad Autonoma de Campeche. Mexico
3  El Colegio de Postgraduados, Campeche, Mexico
4  Soil physics and land management. Wageningen University and Research. The Netherlands.

Intensive agriculture causes excessive use of pesticides and leads into soil quality at risk, contributing to soil degradation. Earthworms are affected by pesticides and other pollutants present in agricultural areas. In this study, the biochemical response of the tropical endogean species Balanteodrilus sp. to 12 soils from 2 annual crop cycles was assessed. The crops were maize-sorghum (MS) and sorghum-soybean (SS) under 2 different years of pesticides use (5 to 14 and 15 to 40 years), at Campeche, in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. The response of two biotransformation biomarkers (AChE, GST), three oxidative stress biomarkers (SOD, CAT and LPO), the change in earthworm weight and the mortality rate were analysed. The bioassays were carried out at two exposure times: 14 and 48 days to measure the presence of juveniles and to observe the difference in enzyme response to longer exposure. The results showed the highest mortality rate in those treatments belonging to soil under 5-14 years under pesticides (40%) at 48 days of exposure, and weight reduction of 50.10 % (p<0.05) from the survivals, with respect to the control. At 48 days, only in the control treatment and in soils under maize sorgum under 5-14 years no presence of juveniles was detected. In contrast, the enzymatic activity was more affected with soils under sorgum-soybean at both exposure times with the highest percentage inhibition of AChE with respect to the control of 86.69 % at 14 d and 86.24 at 48 d,with significant differences in the response of GST, SOD and CAT. These results might serve as reference for determining the negative impact of the industrial agriculture under the use of pesticides, on the physiological and biochemical response of an endogeic earthworm dominant in tropical areas.

keywords: Balanteodrilus sp, biocheochimial response, pesticides, agricutural soils


Insights into the exposure to pesticide of gamebirds through the food chain in agricultural landscapes, the emblematic earthworm - woodcock model

Audrey Barranger1, Romain Georges1, Valérie Gouesbet1, Marie-Claire Martin1, Stephane Basck2, Blandine Buffaut2, Franck Drouyer2, Jérôme Guéguen2, Nicolas Haigron2, Marina Guerin2, Sylvain Murs2, Olivier Primas2, Bertrand Piel2,Kevin Le Rest3,Barbara Giroud4, Emmanuelle Vulliet4, Gaëlle Daniele4 and Françoise Binet1
UMR CNRS ECOBIO 6553, University of Rennes 1, Campus de Beaulieu, 263 Avenue du Général Leclerc, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France
Fédération Régionale des Chasseurs de Bretagne, Les Rosaires,Rue de la Prunelle, 22190 Plérin, France
3 Office Français de la Biodiversité, Direction de la Recherche et de l'Appui Scientifique,Unité Avifaune Migratrice, Nantes, France
UMR CNRS ISA 5280, University of Lyon 1 Campus Claude Bernard, 5 rue de la Doua, 69100 Villeurbanne, France

Diffuse pollution of the environment by synthetic pesticides used in agriculture is a major threat to biodiversity in soils and landscapes. Wildlife fauna housed in agricultural landscapes, whatever it is underground or aboveground fauna such as gamebirds, are directly exposed to pesticides during product spreading or indirectly via aerial drift or secondary poisoning by feeding on contaminated plants or prey. However, in situ assessment of ecological risks to populations associated with pesticides in agricultural landscapes is paradoxically rare. Little knowledge are available for currently used pesticides, whose nature and field application doses have changed radically.The research action we present here is part of a larger monitoring project (Buzhug project) started in 2018 which aims to understand the "pressure-exposure-impact" linkage and bring insights into the concept of eco-exposome. Soil macrofauna namely earthworms, is food resource of high interest for hundreds of vertebrates, especially for avian fauna exhibiting nocturnal habits, such as the woodcock (Scolpaxrusticola). Bioaccumulation and transfer of soil residual pesticides were studied in this soil – earthworm -woodcock food chain which is representative of agricultural bocage landscapes. We thus attempt answering what is the level of contamination by pesticide residues of woodcocks in agricultural landscapes and to what extent do the soil and earthworm fauna contribute to impregnation. Woodcock birds were captured for blood collection as close as possible to the plots in which both soils and earthworms were sampled for pesticides quantification.  Four agricultural areas in Brittany were defined. In each area, a set of 30 woodcocks were twice captured during two consecutive winter 2019/2020 and 2021/2022. We will report on i) the standardized strategy we developed for collecting biological samples from gamebirds and ii) on the two-step analytical methodology for blood pesticide analyses, including a screening  step (LC-qTOF) prior to quantification by LC MS-MS.  Preliminary results will concern the listingof molecule pesticides mainly found in woodcock blood. Next step will be about assessing the potential risks of pesticide transfer through the food chain by integrating the soil and earthworms contamination by pesticides in each area and winter date.

keywords: Environmental contamination ;  Trophic chain transfer ; Bioaccumulation ; Gamebirds ; Ecological risk assessment


Evaluation of the effect of reduced tillage systems on earthworms community, soil properties and ecosystem services, an integrative approach in a farms network

Pérès Guénola1, Richard Cécile1, Menasseri Safya1, Carteaux Laurence1, Busnot Sylvain1, Benard Yannic1, Bouille David2, Garault Valentin2, Cluzeau Daniel3
1  UMR SAS INRAe Institut Agro Rennes-Angers, 65 rue de Saint Brieuc, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France
2 Chambre Régionale d’Agriculture de Bretagne, avenue du Général Borgnis desbordes - BP 398 Vannes Cedex, France
3  University of Rennes, CNRS, ECOBIO [(Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution)] - UMR 6553, Rennes, France

Reduced tillage systems (including reduced soil disturbance, use of cover crops, long crop rotation, organic matter management) are expected to be good alternatives to conventional systems which have led to a decrease of soil biodiversity and multi-functionality. Many studies worldwide have analyzed the impact of tillage systems on different soil functions and have used Long Term Experimental sites, but an integrated view of the impact of these systems is still lacking, especially in “real” life. One aim of SoilMan project ( was to study how reduced-tillage systems managed by farmers impact on earthworms, soil properties (aggregate stability, nutrient content, hypha lengh, microbial biomass) and ecosystem services (water regulation, yield). Twelve fields managed by farmers and located in Brittany (France) were studied in 2018, allowing the comparison of direct seeding and conventional ploughing systems. The results highlighted that, despite the heterogeneity of soil texture, direct seeding systems positively impacted earthworm abundance, biomass and diversity as well as anecic abundance, and in a lesser extent epigiec and endogeic community (p>0.05). These systems also improved microbial biomass, nitrogen and carbon rates in the first 10 centimeters of soil. They increased aggregate stability at both depths [0-10; 10-20cm] for the fast wetting and breakdown tests, linked to microbial biomass, carbon content, and length of hypha (for fast wetting). Despite an increase of hydraulic conductivity at the first 10 cm [0-10 cm] for -0.5hPa, no real effect was noticed for the water infiltration. Regarding provisioning service, wheat yields obtained in direct seeding systems were not lower than those under conventional ploughing system, demonstrating the capacity under direct seeding to maintain the yield. As a conclusion, direct seeding systems by improving several soil functions and by the way several ecosystem services such as soil biodiversity conservation, nutrient cycling and soil structure maintenance, provide resilience capacity of this agroecological system and resistance against soil erosion. Moreover, by maintaining yield, it reinforces the idea that these agroecological systems based on three major pillars (no mechanical disturbance, length and divers crop rotation, fertilisation) give a real opportunity for developing sustainable practices

keywords: Direct seeding; earthworm conservation; sustainability; agroecology


Effect of repeated anaerobic digestates applications over annual crops on earthworm communities

Issaga Diallo1, Kevin Hoeffner1, Diane Fiala1, Nathan Lévêque1, Lola Morand1, Pierre Barré2, Mario Cannavacciuolo3, Camille Chauvin4, Samuel Dequiedt5, Margaret Johnson6, Pierre-Alain Maron5,Denis Montenach7, Daniela Mora-Salguero5, Thierry Morvan8, Pierre Mulliez9,Pascal Piveteau10, Lionel Ranjard5, Sophie Sadet-Bourgeteau5, Véronique Stangret6, Florian Vautrin5,Cécile Villenave4, Grégory Vrignaud11, Daniel Cluzeau1
1  University of Rennes, CNRS, ECOBIO [(Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution)] - UMR 6553, Rennes, France
2  CNRS, ENS- UMR 8538 - Laboratoire de Géologie, Paris, France
3  ESA Angers, Angers, France
4  ELISOLenvironnement, Congénies, France
5  Agroécologie, INRAE, Institut Agro, Univ. Bourgogne, Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté, F-21000 Dijon, France
6  EPLEFPA, Etablissement public, local, d’enseignement et de formation professionnelle agricole, du Bas_Rhin, Obernai, France
7  INRAe, 0871 SEAV, Colmar, France
8  INRAe, L’institut agro - UMR1069 - Sol, Agro et hydrosystème, Spatialisation, Rennes, France
9  Chambre régionale d’Agriculture Pays de la Loire, Angers, France
10  INRAe, UR1466 OPAALE, Optimisation des procédés en agro-alimentaire, agriculture et environnement, Rennes, France
11  ACE Méthanisation, Thouars, France

Anaerobic digestate is the by-product of producing biogas from organic waste in an anaerobic digester.Fertilization or amendment of agricultural soils withanaerobicdigestate could represents an alternative for sustainable agriculture and can offer a solution in waste management. However, the response of soil biological communities to anaerobic digestate is not fully understood. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of repeated application ofanaerobicdigestates on earthworm communities, and to evaluate the influence of the nature of digestates and the fertilization history on these effectsin comparison with other commonly used input (organic or mineral). Earthworm sampling campaign took place in 2022 on three experimental sites with different pedoclimatic contexts (one in the West and two in the East of France): DIGE'O (agricultural high school in Obernai, set up in 2018), EFELE (INRAe, Rennes, set up in 2012) and PROspective (INRAe, Colmar, set up in 2000). Through these three experimental sites, we evaluated the effect of a wide variety of organic residual products (e.g. sewage sludge, digestates, bovine manure, pig slurry)according to the practices used locally. In each experimental site, treatments were distributed in a randomized block design and earthworms were sampled using a protocol adapted from the ISO 23611-1:2018. This study is part of the Metha-BioSol project, which aims to generate scientific data currently lackingon the effect of anaerobic digestates on the physical, chemical and biological soil properties. Details of this project will be presented, i.e. the different indicators selected and the results will focus on the effects of organic residual products, in particular anaerobic digestate, on earthworm community parameters (abundance, biomass and diversity)

keywords: waste; organic products; sewage sludge; manure; slurry


What is the effect of land use on earthworm communities on a national scale

Delourme Loris¹, Hoeffner Kevin¹, Fiala Diane¹, Morand Lola¹, Lévêque Nathan¹, Cluzeau Daniel¹
1 University of Rennes, CNRS, ECOBIO [(Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution)] - UMR 6553, Rennes, France

In order to accelerate major societal transitions within pilot territories, the French government has funded a highly ambitious project called “Dijon, sustainable food 2030” within the framework of the “Plan for Future Investment”. The project aims to (i) create a new model of agro-ecological production with high environmental performance, and (ii) ensure the virtuous sharing of resources between the city and the agricultural world. A first task of this project was to establish a territorial reference system on soil quality within a territory of more than 3000 km². To do this, a dashboard of more than 50 complementary indicators of the physical, chemical, agronomic and biological quality of soils was deployed on 400 plots including 100 plots in urban environments (e.g. parks, lawns, grassy paths) and 300 plots in rural environments (40 forests, 40 grasslands, 20 market gardening plots, 50 vineyards and 150 annual crops). Earthworms were selected within the biological indicators and were sampled in 2021 according to the simplified protocol ISO 23611-1:2018 (extraction of 4 soil blocks per plot then hand-sorting to collect earthworms). In the laboratory, earthworms were counted, weighted and identified at the lowest possible taxonomic level. Preliminary results show that the abundance of earthworms was significantly higher in grasslands and annual crops than in vineyards and market gardening plots. Details of this project will be presented, i.e. the different indicators selected and the results will focus on the effects of land use and management on earthworm community parameters (abundance, biomass and diversity).

keywords: land use and management; soil properties; diversity; bio-indicator


Restoring the health of Walloon agricultural soils by promoting earthworm and microbial activity

Darms Lucie1, Lassois Ludivine2, Boeraeve Fanny3
1  University of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Unit of research “Plant Sciences” & “Biodiversity and landscape”
University of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Unit of research “Plant Sciences”
University of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Unit of research “Biodiversity and landscape”

Nowadays, to ensure sustainable production, it is essential to promote two actors essential to the resilience of our soils: earthworms and microorganisms communities (EMC). Through the ecological functions they perform in soils (decomposition/mineralization of organic matter, stability of aggregates, resistance to biotic or abiotic stresses,…), they contribute to the provision of ecosystem services to mankind (permeability/infiltration of water in soils, erosion control, ultimately primary production,…).

The relationship between EMC is far from being understood: Positive feedbacks would take place during earthworm activity, as changes in microbial biomass and enzymatic activity would amplified during cohabitation.

A detailed study of these interactions and how they evolve with a change in agricultural practices is necessary to better understand how to optimize the provision of ecosystem services.

In Wallonia (Belgium),we can see two gradients of de-intensification among agricultural practices :the decrease in the use of synthetic inputs and the decrease in intensive tillage. Therefore, this thesis will focus on 4 agricultural modalities : Organic agriculture, conservation agriculture, organic + conservation agriculture and conventional agriculture.

The objective is to really quantify the contribution of EMC in these different modalities, through the innovative combination of two approaches. Firstly, a factorial approachis divided into two parts: Tests and samplings in partner long term trials and an ex-situ experimentation in mesocosms. Secondly, asystemic approach will integrate the studyin commercial farms and therefore take into account socio-economic variabilities.

Agricultural practices act as filters for the expression of life in soil, resulting in differences in abundance and diversity then translated in the unlike provision of ecosystem services. In 2021, by sampling about 50 agricultural plots, my master’s thesis proved this phenomenon for earthworm communities. For the next four years, my PhD will go further, by adding the interaction with microorganisms communities.

My poster will present my thesis objectives and the context in which this research takes place.  First results from my graduate work will also be briefly presented. I will be very happy to present my interest in this theme and to discuss with you the different issues and questions that arise from it.

keywords: Agricultural practices ; ecosystem services ; microorganisms ; systemic approach ; agroecology


Species diversity of earthworms from two sites of vineyards in Northern Israel

Ittai Warburg
Shamir Research Institute, Haifa University, Kazerin 1290000, Israel

In this research, two sites of vineyards in Northern Israel were surveyed for diversity of invertebrates: Geshur vineyard (32.755°N;35.714°E;366mASL), and Ramat Magshimim vineyard (32.813°N;35.806°E;406mASL).From these vineyards, invertebrates were collected by pitfall-traps during the year of 1998 usually monthly.Those invertebrates were separated to different systematical orders between the years 1998-2000. The earthworms that were collected in that survey were identified between the years 1999-2000by Professor T. Pavlíčekfrom Haifa University, Israel, and by Professor C. Csuzdi from EötvösLonránd University, Hungary.During the period of this survey the earthworms that were caught in these vineyards were the followings. Dendrobaena sp. Juvenile - one specimen on February 1998 fromGeshur vineyard; and Microscolexdubius – one specimen on February 1998, and 9-10 specimens on March 1998 from Ramat Magshimim vineyard. These earthworms require wetness for their activity, and therefore in Mediterranean habitats they are active on ground surface during the winter. The finding, that more specimens of earthworms were found in this survey from Ramat Magshimim vineyard than from Geshur vineyard can be related to that Ramat Magshimim vineyard, being northern, and in a higher elevation than Geshur vineyard, receives more precipitation than Geshur vineyard. The finding, that from each of these vineyards, there was found a different species of earthworm, can be because of ecological difference between these habitats. This ecological difference can be related to that about 100m-200m south of Geshur vineyard there was or is an area of natural Mediterranean shrub, while Ramat Magshimim vineyard was or is located in between cultivated areas. It is known, that vicinity of agricultural fields to natural areas may affect species composition, diversity or richness, or frequencies of animals and plants in those agricultural areas.   

Acknowledgments : Dr. Rakefet Sharon did the field work of this project.I would like also to thank hereby Professor T. Pavlíčekand Professor C. Csuzdifor identifying the earthworms that were caught in that project. This work was funded between the years 1998-2000 by a grant from   the Foundation of Regional Research and Development of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the State of Israel.

keywords: Agroecosystems, earthworms, vineyards.


Dynamic response of soil properties on soil macrofauna in two different Land- use systems of Kumaun Region, India

Bora S 1 , Bisht S S2
1  Lboratory of Earthworm Biotechnology
2  Kumaun University, Nainital, India- 263002

Sustainable land use is a worldwide concern as the agricultural land use systems are rapidly declining due to their conversion into non-farm activities specially two different land use systems i.e., orchards and cultivated lands are under immense threat and forced the scientist to revisit the sustainability of these important land use systems. Earthworms represent the most important group of soil macrofauna. They play a crucial role in various pedo-biological processes in soil and affect ecosystem services such as soil health and productivity, water regulation, restoration of degraded lands and the balance of greenhouse gases. Anthropogenic activities, mechanized agri practices irrational use of pesticides or inorganic fertilizers can lead to a rapid reduction or loss of earthworm diversity threaten ecosystem services and human well-being. The study was conducted in actual field conditions; authors evaluated the dynamics of several abiotic and biotic soil parameters under contrasting tillage systems. Earthworm communities are generally very sensitive to the Physico-chemical properties of the soil in different agroecosystems, which directly or indirectly influence the earthworm survival. The difference in Physico-chemical properties of soil at various sites contributed to the formation of population patches for earthworm species. Samplings of soil fauna were performed monthly. Earthworms were collected from land-use systems using quadrate in two different monoliths 0-10 and 10-20cm. The collected worm was properly rinsed, anesthetized in 70% alcohol and preserve in 10% formalin. All the samples were taken to the laboratory for further investigation. In Agriculture land worm density ranged from 1.0 m-2 to 91.0 m-2 and in the Orchards, worm density recorded was 5.0 m-2 to 37 m-2. In 0-10cm, the minimum biomass recorded was 5 g-2 in July and February 2019 and 10-20cm was 15g-2 in July. The maximum soil moisture was 37% in 0-10cm depth and 34% in 10-20cm soil layers in cultivated Land. In the Orchards maximum, soil moisture was recorded, i.e., 28% and 32% at 0-10 and 10-20cm, respectively. Soil pH was found to be nearly neutral in all study sites. Soil properties change earthworm diversity indices in different agroecosystem Overall, tillage can foster one of the numerous services provided by the soil compartment, namely the soil biodiversity and therefore improve soil quality and health.

keywords: Earthworms; Agroecosystem; macrofauna; land-use system; physicochemical analysis


Alternative combinations of tillage practices and crop rotations can foster earthworm density and bioturbation

Kaisa Torppa and Astrid Taylor
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Earthworms, which contribute to important soil functions, suffer from intensive agriculture. Their response depends among other things on the earthworm ecological group (anecic, endogeic, epigeic) and the combination of the applied farming practices. To advice on methodological adaptations to enhance earthworm-mediated soil functions, effects of different practices on earthworms need to be studied in concert. We investigated the effects of tillage intensity (conventional, reduced, no tillage) and crop rotation diversity (simple=wheat, barley; diverse=wheat, peas, oil seed rape) on earthworm density and community composition in a Swedish long-term experiment. Furthermore, we calculated annual earthworm bioturbation to quantify the effects of farming practices on earthworm functions. Total earthworm densities did not vary between the different tillage intensities, but were on average 58% higher in the diverse than in the simple crop rotation. The pattern was mainly due to the response of the most abundant endogeic earthworms, which were not affected by tillage intensity, but were nearly two times more abundant in the diverse than in the simple crop rotation. Densities of anecic earthworms were 17 times higher under no tillage than conventional tillage. Anecic earthworms also benefitted from a diversified crop rotation, but the response depended on tillage intensity. The level of bioturbation reflected the response of anecic earthworms, and was more than four times higher under no tillage, 549 g dw/m2/yr, than under conventional tillage. We conclude that highest earthworm bioturbation is best achieved with no tillage. However, earthworm densities and potentially bioturbation can be increased also by a diversified crop rotation, when reducing tillage intensity is not feasible.

keywords: direct sowing, ecological intensification, Lumbricidae, moldboard ploughing, sustainable agriculture


Functional diversity of earthworms in 3 Mediterranean agroforestry systems

R. Marichal1,2, A. Bêche1,2, D. F. Marchán3, C. Marsden4, P.-E. Lauri1,2, M. Hedde4
1   CIRAD, UMR ABSys, F-34398 Montpellier, France
2   ABSys, Univ Montpellier, CIHEAM-IAMM, CIRAD, INRAE, InstitutAgro, Montpellier, France
3 Centre d’EcologieFonctionelle et Evolutive CEFE, Université Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, 34293 Montpellier, France
4   Eco&Sols, Univ Montpellier, CIRAD, INRA, IRD, InstitutAgro, Montpellier, France

Through their functional traits, earthworms playkey roles on the functions that determine soil health in agrosystems, especially soil structure and nutrient cycling. Previous studies in agroforestry systems showed that earthworm density and biomass are higher in the agroforestry tree rows compared to crop alleys. However, earthworm functional trait diversity remains undescribed in such systems. The objective of the present work was tocharacterize the influence of intra-plot spatial heterogeneity on earthworm communities and functional traits in three Mediterrane an agroforestry systems in France.

We studied the abundance, biomass and functional diversity in a sylvo arable system and in two systems that associate perennial plants. Individuals were hand sorted from 25x25x20 cm soil monoliths. Species were determined at species level and ecological categories were attributed according toBottinelli et al (2020). Morphological traits (e.g. body mass, length, diameter, segment number…) were measured on all the 1,183 individuals collected while species-fixed traits (e.g. gizzard type, typhlosole type…) came from the literature.

The results showed that the structure of earthworm communities depends on the type of agroforestry system, and highlighted the importance of the plant cover. Functional diversity (FDis index) is higher in the most complex agroforestry system. Further studies are needed to associate precisely traits with functions, and to relate them to the physico-chemical characteristics of the soil.

keywords: Agroforestry;spatial heterogeneity ; functional diversity ;functional trait, trait-based ecology


Response of earthworm communities to crop diversification and low input management in European perennial and annual cropping systems

Esperanza Huerta-Lwanga1, Felix Dittrich2, Jorge Álvaro-Fuentes3, Manuel González-Rosado4, Virginia Sánchez-Navarro5, Raúl Zornoza5, Visa Nuutinen6 and the Diverfarming Team
1 Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, P.O. Box 47, 6700AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
2  Soil Science, Faculty of Regional and Environmental Sciences, University of Trier, Behringstr. 21, D-54286 Trier, Germany
3  Soil and Water Department, Estación Experimental de Aula Dei (EEAD), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Montañana Av. 1005, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
4  Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Soil Science and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Agrifood Campus of International Excellence—ceiA3, University of Cordoba, 14071 Cordoba, Spain
5  Sustainable Use, Management and Reclamation of Soil and Water Research Group (GARSA), Department of Agricultural Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XIII 48, 30203 Cartagena, Spain
6  Soil Ecosystems, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Tietotie 4, 31600, Jokioinen, Finland

Diversification of cropping systems together with low-input management can support agriculture sustainability. One important motivation for the application of such measures is the enhancement and maintenance of biological soil fertility. We are therefore investigating how earthworm communities respond to changes in agricultural management in different climatic regions as a part of the multidisciplinary Diverfarming -project (EU H2020). We study both long-term field experiments and three-year case studies established in the project. Perennial systems include vineyards (Continental region) and olive orchards (Mediterranean region), their diversification involves cultivation of different herbs and aromatic plants or legumes as intercrops.  In field crop cultivation, production of cereals and grass are studied together with horticultural cropping (experiments in Mediterranean, Atlantic and Boreal regions). There the diversification includes adding of new cash or cover crops in the rotation while inputs are lowered by application of organic management or reduced tillage. In long-term experiments earthworms were sampled once and in case study experiments at the start and at the end of the experiment. Sampling was done during high earthworm activity at the topsoil using combined soil hand-sorting and AITC-extraction. Preliminary analysis of the data has shown that both crop diversification and low input management can lead to notable increase in total abundance and species richness of earthworms.  The responses, however, vary considerably in their strength in different settings and there may also be interaction between the impacts of diversification and low-input measures. In some environments, particularly in soils susceptible to high topsoil temperatures and severe drought periods, the general abundance of earthworms remains very low. In our presentation we will review the results and discuss their implications.

keywords: Diversity below and aboveground, intercropping, earthworms diversity


Testing a new technique to investigate earthworm fluxes in an alley cropping system

Camille D’Hervilly1,2, Isabelle Bertrand2, Mickaël Hedde2,Laurent Berlioz2, Lydie Dufour3, Claire Marsden2
Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
UMR Eco&Sols, Univ Montpellier, INRAE, CIRAD, IRD, Montpellier SupAgro, Montpellier, France
UMR ABSys, INRAE, CIRAD, Montpellier SupAgro, Montpellier, France

In alley cropping agroforestry, parallel herbaceous strips planted withtrees provide a favorable habitat for soil organisms usually negatively impacted by agricultural practices. Spillover from the herbaceous strips couldincreaseearthworm abundance in crop alleys, but movements of earthworms in situ are difficult to study. We investigated the fluxes of earthworms between herbaceous strips and crop alleys in a Mediterranean alley cropping field in spring of 2019 using a novel technique. We designed directional traps, consisting of three joined plastic walls sunk vertically into the soil and delimiting a cubic 25*25 cm wide soil block of 15 cm depth, placed at 30 cm from the herbaceous strip. These traps allowed earthworm entrance either from the herbaceous strip or from the crop alley, with ten replicates for each orientation. Earthwormswere collected in the traps after two months by hand sorting. Earthworm density was simultaneously determined in 25*25*30 cm soil blocks at several distance from the herbaceous strip (0 m, 30 cm, 1 m and 6 m). The gradient-type distribution observed forLumbricuscastaneuswith the distance from the herbaceous strip suggests a spillover from the herbaceous strip, but no fluxes were detected for this species. At the opposite, while the distribution of Allolobophorachlorotica was homogeneous in the plot, we reported fluxes in direction of the herbaceous strip for this species, as we observedmore catches in traps open towards the crop alley than in traps open towards the herbaceous strip. We extrapolated than Spring was not a favorable season for earthworm spillover from the tree row, and hypothesized thatA. chloroticauses the herbaceous strip and its immediate vicinity as a refuge to face adverse conditions in the crop alley. This kind of experiment should be repeated at other seasons, as earthworm fluxes probably vary with environmental conditions and agricultural management practices.

keywords: Alley cropping; spillover; directional trap; herbaceous strip; movements


Prerequisites for a successful long-term earthworm monitoring in German agricultural landscapes within the MonViA Project

Anna Vaupel, Nadine Herwig, Bernd Hommel
Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI) Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Ecological Chemistry, Plant Analysis and Stored Product Protection, Berlin, Germany

The “nationwide Monitoring of Biodiversity in German Agricultural Landscapes” (MonViA) is a joint project of the Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), the Thünen Institute (TI) and the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The aim of MonViA is to develop and implement nationwide monitoring concepts for a multitude of organism and landscaping groups, to identify trends in biodiversity and to evaluate agricultural and environmental measures regarding their influence on biodiversity. This step towards a better understanding of protecting biodiversity is essential to fulfil the goals of the EU biodiversity strategy 2030.

One part of the MonViA project is the monitoring of earthworm communities. Earthworms are an important part in agricultural systems, fulfilling several ecosystem functions. Therefore,it is of utmost importance to monitor their long-term development especially regarding the influence of agricultural management, measures dealing with EU’s green direct paymentsand climate change.One main task in building this robust monitoringis the selection of monitoring sites. Since earthworms are not evenly distributed over the German agricultural landscape, areas with unfavourable natural conditions will already have a drastically reduced diversity and abundanceof earthworms. Monitoring results collected in such areas will not be able to detect effects caused by management practices, because the influence of natural soil factors and climate overrides anthropogenic effects. Consequently, the monitoring should take place in areas, where the natural conditions are suitable for earthworms and comparable between the different monitoring sites. Only in those “comfort zones” can the monitoring produce meaningful results while staying personnel and cost efficient.

Comfort zone definitions,containing the ideal natural conditions for earthworms, were established using a meta-analysis of existing databases, publications, and grey literature. Afterwards, those definitions were validated with the help of laboratory and field studies. The final definitions were then used to develop a Web GIS application tool which identifies the comfort zones in Germany and thus serves as a basis for the site selection of the monitoring.

keywords: Monitoring; Biodiversity; Agriculture; Earthworms


Earthworm communities in European arable sites as affected by different tillage reduction measures according to local practices – Results from the SoilMan-Project-

Ilka Engell1, Ulfert Graefe2, Deborah Linsler1, Anneke Beylich2, Muriel Guernion3, Gema Guzmán4, Kevin Hoeffner3, Blanca B Landa4, Mignon Sandor5, Astrid Taylor6, Kaisa Torppa6, Guenola Peres7, Martin Potthoff1f
1  University of Göttingen, Center of Biodiversity and sustainable land use), Göttingen, Germany
2  Institute of applied Soil Biology (IFAB), Hamburg , Germany
3  Université de Rennes 1 - UMR CNRS Ecobio, Paimpont, France
4  Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Spanish National Research Council, Córdoba, Spain
5  University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine ClujNapoca, Department of Environment and Plant, Protection, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
6  Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology, Uppsala, Sweden
7  Agrocampus Ouest, UMR 1069 SAS, Rennes, France

A reduction in tillage intensity is often discussed as an effective tool to improve the habitat quality of arable soils for soil organisms especially for earthworms. In the Biodiversa-SoilMan-Project (, different sites across Europe (Sweden, Romania, Germany, Spain, France) were investigated as case studies for country-specific reductions of tillage intensity, comparing by mouldboard ploughing as conventional tillage (CT) with shallow and deep non-inversion as minimum tillage (MT) or direct seeding as no-tillage (NT).

Generally, along with earlier literature, reductions in tillage intensities supported earthworms in number, biomass, and diversity. However, soil management practices show a high variation across regions and even reductions in management intensities often have regional characteristics. We would like to present a number of observations from SoilMan sites to increase general knowledge and stimulate a fruitful discussion at ISEE12 on future soil management systems to support earthworms in Europe.

keywords: Soil management, tillage, Europe


The role of earthworms in the decomposition of kelp (Laminaria digitata) when used as a soil amendment

Matthew A. Parkes1,2, David Elphinstone2 , Jeannette Kister1,2 and Kevin R. Butt1
1  University of Central Lancashire, School of Natural Science, Preston, United Kingdom
2  Myerscough College, Bilsborrow, Preston, United Kingdom

Growth rates of earthwormsfeeding on kelp have also been shown to be density dependentand influenced by interactions with other species. For example, both A. longa and A. caliginosa had greatest growth rates at intermediate population densities (2 individuals per 750 ml of substrate),and when housed with another species, growth ceased. Work has also demonstrated how valuable kelp can be at promoting plantgrowth.Withpotato, spring barley, lettuce and spring onion crops, kelp additions consistently outperformed horsemanure. Higher crop yields from kelp treatments corresponded to changes in key soil properties such as moisture content, LOI, pH, nitrate, ammonium and micronutrients. Earthworms, as part of the decomposition mechanisms of kelp, further enhanced soil properties and accelerated the incorporation of kelp into the soil structure, when compared to kelp decomposed through solely microbial processes. Due to enhanced soil conditions, it is likely, that the action of earthworms feeding on kelp will further promote crop growth. This research offers a valuable insight into how the action of earthworms in agroecosystems fertilised with kelp could be utilised as part of a sustainable food production system.

keywords: Earthworms; Decomposition; Fertilisers; Kelp; Soil


QBS-e Index, a tool based on earthworms for assessing the soil quality in agroecosystems and recent applications

Frederico Gavinelli, Andrea Fasolo, Andrea Squartini, Giuseppe Concheri
Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padova, Italy

The QBS-e index (Paoletti et al., 2013; Fusaro et al., 2018) is a recently proposed tool that is effective in investigating and communicating the influence of land use, evaluating ecosystem services, and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem through. This tool exploits the application of earthworms, a key actor in soil fertility, sensitive to mechanical processing, chemical inputs and sewage, simplification of ecosystems, salinization, and soil compaction or erosion.

Modelled according to the QBS-ar (Parisi, 2001), The QBS-e index evaluates the number of earthworm specimens collected related to An Eco-Morphological Index score attributed concerning the composition patterns of the cenosis in conserved environments and the variability of biomass to each ecological category and stage of development of the earthworms collected. It was conceived for the academic but also for the farmer or operator without taxonomic skills but curious to independently monitor the level of soil quality in the rural context.

The final QBS-e value is directly proportional to the degree of conservation of the considered site, and to the consequently soil quality class.

With this index, it is possible to discriminate even the differences in management or concerning the levels detected in the surrounding landscape. Recently it has been possible to investigate the conditions between the abundances in specimens within the field and those in semi-natural environments in the immediate vicinity in Italian agroecosystems. In fact, concerning different agronomic interventions and landscape composition, a higher QBS-e value is observed in wooded or hedged areas and proximity to marginal vegetation. The differences between crops with and without cover crop could be detected more immediately, showing the presence of a tendency to maintain a higher level of soil quality between the external environment, with the presence of hedges and headlands, and the internal environment subject to cover crops.

keywords: Earthworms; Agroecosystems; Ecological categories; Soil fertility; QBS-e Index


Effects of chemical fertilizer and organic inputs (cattle dung and grass clipping) on the population of Eiseniafoetidaand plant growth parameters of Brassica rapachinensis.

Abdullah Adil Ansari
Department of Biology, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana

Agricultural farming is a main economic activity in Guyana and agricultural products are produced on a daily basis to provide food security for our growing population. As a result, chemical fertilizers are used extensively in agriculture farming for faster crop yields as opposed to the use of organic fertilizers which promotes healthy fruits, vegetables and a safer environment for soil organisms. This study investigated the effects of chemical fertilizer and organic inputs (cattle dung and grass clipping) on the population of Eisenia foetida and plant growth parameters of Brassica rapachinensis. The findings revealed that E. foetidawere negatively affected by the chemical fertilizer but the organic fertilizer showed positive effects.  The application of chemical fertilizers (urea) and organic inputs (cattle dung and grass clipping) to the various treatments were done in parts based on the recommended dosage which was calculated to be a total of 750 grams for both cattle dung and grass clipping per pot for the organic treatment, a total of 7.5 grams per pot for the chemical treatment and no additives were applied to the soil in the control treatment. A total of 360 adult E. foetidawere used for analytical purposes and 20 E. foetidawere introduced per pot after a single B. rapachinensiswas planted.

keywords: Eisenia foetida, Brassica rapachinensis, agricultural farming, organic fertilizer, chemical fertilizer


A new antimicrobial peptide originates from earthworm genome

Yizhao WU, Songge DENG, Jiangping QIU, Yinsheng LI
School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, 200240, China

Background and objective: Many antimicrobial peptides (AMPs)have been separated and purified from earthworm bodydirectly.However, this process is time consuming and laborious.The genome sequencing of some earthworm species has been completed, thus it is possible to discover new AMPs through them.

Methods and materials:the genome of Eisenia andrei (Bouché, 1972) were found by ORFfinder (NCBI), in which potential AMPs were predicted by CAMPR3. The MIC of selected AMPs was determined and through sequence optimization, a peptide EWAMP-R with good antibacterial activity was foundand itsstability and hemolysis were detected. After EWAMP-R treatment,the morphology changes of E. coil and S. auresus were observed using SEM andTEM. Through flow cytometry, the rateof cells in programmed death and necrosis was also counted.  Then membrane permeability, the relative expression of recA, lexA and mazF, ROS, membrane potential, intracellular Ca2+ and ATP were determined to recognize how EWAMP-R kills bacteria.

Results: EWAMP-R has good activity against bacteria (MICE. Coil=8 μg/mL, MICS. aureus=16 μg/mL) and it was stable at pH=4-10 or after 100℃ water bath heating for 1 h. Besides, no hemolysis was found in 256 μg/mL EWAMP-R. After treated with EWAMP-R, there were many cells in programmed death and necrosis. Many bacteriashrank and some cell membrane was damaged. The expression of recA and lexA was also promoted suggesting apoptosis-like cell death (ALD)pathway was activated and DNA in some bacteria were damaged, resulting in rising ROS content and membrane potential depolarization, which may cause the death of bacteria. In addition, the amount of intracellular Ca2+ and ATP decreased that may result from the change of membrane potential and can influence the energy metabolism, which could also affect the survival of bacteria.

 Conclusion: EWAMP-R, a novel earthworm AMP, showed antibacterial activity against E. coli and S. aureus,by damaging cell membrane and motivating ALD pathway that increases ROS and blocks energy metabolism.

Acknowledgments: This research was supported by Livelihood Issues Science and Technology Projects Shanghai Minhang (2021 MH-MS17), and Key Projects of Shanghai Municipal Agricultural Commission (2021 No.2-2).

keywords: earthworm genome; antimicrobial peptide; cell membrane damage; ALD pathway


The bioinspiration and biomimetics of earthworm characteristics by human engineers. 

George A. Damoff
Stephen F. Austin State University
Nacogdoches, Texas, USA

Organismal research based on bioinspiration and biomimetics by engineers, chemists, and scientists trace to the latter half of the 20th century, yet only in the last two decades has the pursuit of these two disciplines seen an increase in application to earthworms. This paper reviews over 100 publications in more than two dozen peer reviewed journals and proceedings publications that reveal a wide range of interest in earthworm characteristics to developrobots, agricultural implements, health care products, fabrics, computer software and more. Earthworm features that have thus far inspired or been mimicked are mucus, the integument, metamerism, musculature-setae interaction, locomotion and burrowing behavior, and the hydrostatic skeleton.Examples include earthworm epidermal mucus: rheological behavior reveals drag-reducing characteristics in soil; earthworm-inspired ultradurable superhydrophobic fabrics from adaptive wrinkled skin; and earthworm like modular robot using active surface gripping mechanism for peristaltic locomotion. This review is a systematic survey of these publications and how earthworms have served as a template in applied science and engineering products. To conclude, additional earthworm features are suggested for further bioinspiration and biomimetic exploration.

keywords: Bioinspiration; biomimetics; human engineers; reverse engineering


Response of earthworm communities to soil engineering and soil isolation in urban landscapes

Jeanne Maréchal1,2, Kevin Hoeffner1, Xavier Marié2, Daniel Cluzeau1
1  University of Rennes, CNRS, ECOBIO [(Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution)] - UMR 6553, Rennes, France
2  Sol Paysage, 8 bis boulevard Dubreuil, F-91400 Orsay, France

Engineered soils provide numerous ecosystem services in urban landscapes, such as water regulation and plant growth. They are designed to optimize soil physicochemical properties but their biological properties are given little consideration. In particular, earthworm communities may be highly impacted by soil engineering processes and soil isolation caused by asphalt surfaces separating soils, and in particular roadside soils, from pseudo-natural soils. In this context, this study aimed to evaluate (i) the effect of soil engineering processes applied to design roadside soils, and (ii) the effect of soil isolation from pseudo-natural soils by asphalt surfaces on earthworm communities. The study was conducted in an urban landscape in the suburb of Paris, France. We sampled earthworms in roadside soils from two distinct soil engineering processes: basic engineering (BER) associated with low stripping depth and advanced engineering (AER) associated with high stripping depth and organic amendment. Within each soil engineering process, two levels of soil isolation were defined depending on the asphalt surface separating roadside soils from pseudo-natural soils: light isolation (LI) in the case of a narrow cycle path, and high isolation in a case of a wide road. Soil engineering did not affect the total earthworm abundance whereas the total richness was negatively impacted in comparison to nearby pseudo-natural soils. High soil isolation differently impacted earthworm communities depending on the engineering modality. Regarding AER, earthworm abundance and richness were significantly lower in HI than in LI while no differences were observed between BER-LI and BER-HI. Overall, engineering processes define the soil’s ability to host earthworms, and soil isolation defines soil’s ability to be colonized from nearby environments. Considering the contribution of earthworms to the provision of ecosystem services, both soil engineering and soil isolation should be taken into account in urban projects to optimize their developments in urban landscapes.

keywords: Soil artificialisation; soil fragmentation; earthworm biodiversity


Impacts on earthworm urban communities of engineering processes (reconstructed Anthroposoils) and road infrastructures

Jeanne Maréchal1,2, Kevin Hoeffner1, Xavier Marié2, Daniel Cluzeau1
1  University of Rennes, CNRS, ECOBIO [(Ecosystèmes, biodiversité, évolution)] - UMR 6553, Rennes, France
2  Sol Paysage, 8 bis boulevard Dubreuil, F-91400 Orsay, France

Providing soil ecosystem services such as temperature and water regulation is a key issue in cities for the well-being of citizens. To optimise urban soil functions, one solution offered by soil engineering is to excavate deep trenches in existing urban soils and to reconstruct soils based on the model of natural soils. However, this process involves soil stripping and stockpiling which is particularly detrimental for earthworm communities, considered as key actors of soil restoration. Moreover, urban development is associated with landscape fragmentation by asphalt surfaces such as roads whose negative impacts have been highlighted on many organisms, but their consequences on earthworm communities of reconstructed soils have been little studied. In that respect, this study aimed (i) to evaluate earthworm communities between surrounding pseudo-natural grassland soils and in a recent (4-year-old) and an old (20-year-old) reconstructed roadside soil, and (ii) to compare earthworm communities of reconstructed roadside soils of each age, either surrounded by two roads, or located in the periphery and only bordered on one side by a road. The study site is located in an urban landscape of the Paris region, France. We sampled earthworms along two linear reconstructed roadside soils of 4- and 20-year-old and in surrounding pseudo-natural grassland soils. Roads surrounding reconstructed roadside soils were 6 meters wide with a 20 centimeters high curb. Compared to pseudonatural grasslands, the structure of earthworm communities in both reconstructed roadside soils was negatively impacted by roads as endogeic species represented 90% of the total abundance. Regarding the effect of roads in the 20-year-old reconstructed roadside soil, earthworm community parameters were significantly lower and epigeic and anecic earthworms were absent in soils surrounded by two roads in comparison with soils only bordered on one side by a road. Regarding the effect of roads in the 4-year-old reconstructed roadside soil, earthworm community parameters were not different between soils surrounded by two roads in comparison with soils only bordered on one side by a road. Overall, we highlighted that soil engineering processes and the isolation of soils by roads may be key elements to consider in urban planning to enhance earthworm communities and ecosystem services associated with urban soils.

keywords: Soil artificialisation; soil fragmentation; earthworm biodiversity


PRODIGGA: a start-up that meets emerging laboratory needs and Nature-based solutions for soil sustainability

Pelosi Céline
French National Institute of Research for Agriculture and Environment

The idea and project started from the following question: How can the effects of pesticides be effectively assessed in the laboratory when the earthworm species currently used in regulatory procedures (Eisenia fetida) is not really sensitive and not representative of natural soils? The objective of PRODIGGA is first to produce, synchronize, calibrate and commercialize a relevant earthworm species for regulatory testing and scientific experimentation.

The earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa will be introduced as a potential model species in annex of ISO norms (e.g., ISO 11268-2:2012on the effect of pollutants on earthworms that specifies regulatory guidelines for plant protection products) soon (probably in 2022).Currently, Eisenia fetida/Eisenia andrei is used as models for testing. However, the earthworm species Aporrectodea caliginosa is much more representative of natural soils and more sensitive to its environment. Moreover, the breeding of A. caliginosa can be carried out under controlled conditions at an industrial level allowing for synchronized, calibrated, and standardized individuals.The method used is based on know-how transferred by INRAE to the company.PRODIGGA thus has expertise in the biology of the species and perfectly knows all the steps of the production chain of the A. caliginosa species.

Thus, this start-up promotes ecological solutions to meet emerging laboratory needs and soil sustainability. Moreover, the functions of A. caliginosa in soils (burrowing, digging horizontal burrows in the superficial part of the soil, digesting and mixing organic matter with mineral particles, releasing fertilizing excrements, etc.) makes it a good candidate for maintaining soil fertility and revitalizing impoverished soils (see poster of Lucas Petit-Dit-Grezeriat, same session).

keywords: Laboratory testing, soil revitalization, risk assessment procedures


Biotic Potential and Life Longevity of Eudrilus eugeniae cultured on Sugarcane Strash under uncontrolled room environmental conditions

Dr. Umesh M. Shagoti
Department of Zoology, Arts, Science and Commerce Degree College, Gokak, 591 307 Karnataka, India

Eudrilus eugeniae being surface litter feeder with potential for conversion of organic wastes into biofertilizer has been employed in waste management through biodegradation technology.Various researchers have contributed  to our knowledge regarding growth and reproduction of E. eugeniae  cultured on cattle manure at controlled 25.0C. However, very little information is available on the life cycle of this worm at elevated (30.0°C) temperature regulated fluctuating (25.0 – 37.0°C) temperature regulated fluctuating (25.0 – 37.0°C) temperature and in uncontrolled environmental temperatures.

Gulbarga (North-East region of Karnataka) is geographically located between 76°.04’ – 77°.42’ E longitude and 17°.46 N latitude with an latitude of about 452 m MSL. As a prerequisite for   undertaking field scale vermicomposting using E. eugeniae as this region, present investigation was undertaken to find out the influence of sugarcane strash waste food and the prevailing uncontrolled (natural) room environment on growth, attainment of sexual maturity, cocoon production and life longevity of the worm. E.eugeniae stock cultures of this worm were established by breeding on cattle manure amended sugar cane strash waste and the prevailing room environment conditions at the Department of Studies in Zoology, Gulbarga University, Gulbarga.

E.eugeniae cultured on sugarcane strash waste food gained weight rapidly 25th week when the biomass of each worm was 2995.0 ± 13.1 mg.  E.eugeniae appeared to attain sexual maturity only they attain and retain more than 1000 mg/worm body weight. The growth rate of the worms decreased with the commencement of cocoon production. Worm gradually lost their weight, with low rate of cocoon production. Which could be attributed to the attainment of senescence due to ageing and also probably due to prevailing seasonal unfavourable temperature and humidity. In our study, worms survived for only 1.4 years in sugarcane strash waste food with a peak production for 5-6 week after the attainment of sexual maturity.

It can be concluded that sugarcane strash waste food by virtue of its good nutritive status, supported long survivability, more biomass, growth and reproduction of E. eugeniae.

keywords: Eudrilus eugeniae ; Sugarcane Strash wastes ; room environment ; Life Longevity


Earthworm inoculation in degraded lands: state of art and potential applications to vineyards.

Petit dit Grézériat Lucas1,2, Pelosi Céline1, Capowiez Yvan1, Rault Magali 2
1  French National Institute of Research for Agriculture and Environment (INRAE)
2  Université d’Avignon et des Pays du Vaucluse

Earthworm inoculation was first experienced in since the early 50’s notably by a New Zealander farmer who related the abundance of earthworms to the fertility of his soils. Since then, scientists proposed different techniques of earthworm inoculation but no method exists so far to assess the success of earthworm’s establishment over time. Moreover, this technique has been mainly set up in agricultural soils, especially in order to increase crop yields, but no references have been found that deals with the assessment of the success of earthworm inoculation techniques in vineyards.

Vineyards soils are usually degraded due to agricultural practices which led to soil tiredness, potentially leading to yield decrease. Generally, these soils are historically contaminated by copper and they have low biodiversity (in particular earthworm diversity and abundance) and low organic matter content. In order to support the ecological transition, this project aims to develop a methodology to revitalize vineyard soils by inoculating earthworms while providing massive organic amendments. This ecological engineering study, based on an in situ approach, will be complemented by laboratory experiments in order to assess earthworm effect on soil functions (water infiltration, soil porosity) according to the presence of various species, alone and in interaction.

In that context, we will present a review of the techniques dealing with earthworm inoculation and their follow-up over time. Moreover, we will present the ecological engineering study set up in fall 2021 in our project of vineyards revitalization. After describing the inoculation technique of this in situ approach, we will show the first results on the establishment of the four inoculated species (Lumbricus terrestris, Aporrectodea caliginosa, Aporrectodea nocturna and Allolobophora chlorotica) a few months after the inoculation.  Finally, we tested the effect of various amount and type of organic matter (composted, non-composted) on the inoculation success and these results will be presented.

keywords: Inoculation, revitalization, vineyards


Recycling of organic waste from culinary workshops of gastronomic technology school

Joanna Kostecka, Natalia Kornak, Grzegorz Pączka, Mariola Garczyńska, Anna Mazur-Pączka
Department of the Basis of Agriculture and Waste Management, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Land Management and Environmental Protection, College of Natural Sciences, University of Rzeszow, Cwiklinskiej 1a, 35-601 Rzeszow, Poland;

The production of biodegradable waste can be an environmental problem or the basis for the recovery of valuable raw material. Vermicomposting is one of the effective ways of organic recycling.

The aim of the research was to determine the vermicomposting potential of biodegradable waste from the kitchen of a gastronomic technical college at the place of its origin. Vermicomposting of this waste in "earthworm ecological boxes" was described.

The most common waste produced there was collected and divided into three fractions: A1- dry waste (dry bread, cake residues and dry biscuits, as well as paper and paper towels), A2- wet waste (pasta and fruit peelings and vegetables) and A3- potato waste (peelings and remains of boiled potatoes). The waste in each group were dried, then brought to a humidity of 70% and vermicomposted. Eisenia fetida Sav. were introduced into each of 12 containers (with density of 20 specimen per dm3). Each container was filled with horticultural soil (with known characteristics). The first group of earthworms (A1) (4n) was fed dry waste, the second (A2) (4n) wet waste, while the third group of earthworms (A3) (4n) consumed potato waste.

The features of the development of the earthworm population were checked. On dry waste, E. fetida mass change coefficient was 72%, in group (A2) - 134%, and in group (A3) - 143%. The rate of waste requirements of vermiculture was determined. The features of the obtained vermicomposts indicate that valuable fertilizers were produced (the content of plant nutrients in vermicomposts increased compared to the waste initiating vermicomposting (p <0.05). The presence of "ecological earthworm boxes" in the gastronomic technical school brings this school closer to the organization of a circular economy in it. It also has a direct educational value.

keywords: ecological box; earthworms; education; circular economy


Vermicomposting of Miscanthus gigantheus post-harvest waste with the use of Dendrobaena veneta (rosa 1893) earthworms

Mariola Garczyńska1, Grzegorz Pączka1, Anna Mazur-Pączka1, Joanna Kostecka1, Kevin R. Butt2
Department of the Basis of Agriculture and Waste Management, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Land Management and Environmental Protection, College of Natural Sciences, University of Rzeszow, Cwiklinskiej 1a, 35-601 Rzeszow, Poland;
2  University of Central Lancashire, Natural Sciences, Preston PR 1 2HE, UK

Therefore, this study aimed to determine the possibility of using vermiculture to manage the waste mass of post-harvest residues of M. gigantheus in different vermiculture technologies using Dendrobaena veneta. In the experiment, 5 treatments were constructed with different proportions of miscanthus and cattle manure waste mass (M - miscanthus (100%), C- cattle manure (100%); CM25 - miscanthus (25%) + cattle manure (75%); CM50 - miscanthus (50%) + cattle manure (50%); CM75 - miscanthus (75%) + cattle manure (25%)). The research was carried out in an air-conditioned chamber(20±0.5°C; humidity 70%). The results (X ± SD) were compared using the variance method, using Tukey's test in the Statistica PL program.

Differences in the rate of vermicomposting of waste mass between the treatments were demonstrated, with e.g. treatment M not satisfactory (the waste was not transformed into vermicompost). Positive effects in converting M. gigantheus waste mass were obtained in groups with the addition of cattle manure. The vermicomposts obtained in the C, CM50, and CM75 groups were characterized by a higher N, P, K, and Mg content than the initial waste mass (p <0.05). In C and CM 75, the D. veneta populations developed best with the number of mature individuals and cocoons significantly greater than in the M group (p < 0.05).

keywords: vermicomposting; D. veneta; M. gigantheus; crop residues; vermicompost


Agrochemical characteristics of vermicomposts obtained from sewage sludge

Kholostov G. Sazanova E. Popov A. Vishnyakov A.
Saint-Petersburg state University

One of the important issues of sustainable development is the creation of an effective system for treating organic waste. Most of the current methods are expensive chemical and physical processes. In this case, vermicomposting of organic waste can potentially represent a good alternative. As part of the research work vermicomposts were obtained from sewage sludge mixed with peat at a ratio of 1:1 and pure sludge with the participation of two species of worms Dendrobenaveneta and Eisenia foetida. Agrochemical parameters (pH; CEC; N-NO3,NO2,NH4; S, P2O5;K2O;) were obtained for vermicomposts and control substrates. Values of hydrogen index of aqueous suspension in all objects were practically the same. The value of the cation exchange capacity (CEC) of vermicomposts derived from a mixture of silt and peat increased compared with the control substrate. At the same time, there was almost no difference between pure sludge and their corresponding vermicomposts. In addition, the content of phosphorus compounds available to plants was about 60 times higher than the content of available potassium compounds. This fact can be explained by the fact that potassium compounds could be washed out of sewage sludge during its dewatering. In more mature vermicomposts, nitrogen was mainly in the nitrate form; in less mature vermicomposts, it was mainly in the ammonium form. Based on our results we can conclude that vermicomposting may be the preferred method of biological conversion of sewage sludge in order to obtain vermicomposts that can be used as organic fertilizers. However, in order to do so, the disproportion between the content of phosphorus and potassium forms available to plants must be eliminated. It should be noted that there was no noticeable difference between the agrochemical properties of vermicomposts obtained with Eisenia foetida and Dendrobenaveneta

The work is supported by the funds of the World-class Scientific Center "Agrotechnologies of the Future", 2020 - 2025. Contract with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of RF No. 075-15-2020-922.

keywords: Vermicomposting; sewage sludge;  agrochemical parameters;  waste bioconversion


The optimal conditions of vermicomposting of kitchen waste and the changes of microbe in the earthworm-kitchen waste system

Qi Zhao, Zexuan Wu, Bangyi Yin, Jiangping Qiu
Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Population growth and social changes have recently contributed to an exaggerated increase in kitchen wastes. Up to 2020, the average production of kitchen waste was more than 1.3 billion tons per year. Vermicomposting has recently been recognized as an effective and eco-friendly method of organic waste treatment through the combination of earthworms and microbes. However, the optimal conditions to treat household kitchen waste by earthworms have not been explored and changes in the structure of the microbial community during the vermicomposting are unclear. Thus, the objective of this study was to derive the most suitable lipid and salinity content in vermicomposting and understand the changes of microbes in the substrates and the gut of earthworms. In our study, kitchen wastes with four lipid contents (0% (L1), 5% (L2), 10% (L3) and 15% (L4)), four salinities: (0% (S1), 0.1% (S2), 0.2% (S3) and 0.3% (S4)) and three C/N ratios (18, 20, 25) were prepared. The earthworm (Eisenia fetida) growth, chemical characters of substrates and microbes in earthworm gut and substrates were measured at the interim (14 days) and the end (28 days) of vermicomposting. Our results showed that: 1) 5% lipid contents, 0.2% salinity contents (measured values) and C/N=20 were the best conditions for vermicomposting of kitchen waste; 2) bacteria community richness and diversity were always higher in the hindgut than that in the foregut. The networks in the hindgut were more binding and positive, especially the genera which was categorizing to the phylum Proteobacteria. And the metabolic pathways were more frequent in the hindgut on day 28. In summary, the lipid and salinity of the kitchen wastes should be pretreated to less than 5% and 0.2% before vermicomposting and the C/N ratio should be about 20. And the hindgut of earthworms played an important role in the formation of vermicomposting.

keywords: Earthworm,Kitchen waste, oil content, salinity content, bacteria


Biological Management of Degraded Soils For Sustainable Conservation of Agrarian Soil Productivity

Dr Tuneera Bhadauria,
Senior Assistant Professor

Due to various inefficient irrigation management strategies, a lack of suitably planned drainage channels, and an increased evaporation, dissolved salts have accumulated on the top soil, culminating in salt - affected conditions in wide stretches of semiarid India's Indogangetic plains, rendering these ecosystems unsuitable for soil biota species diversity and agricultural production.

To determine the importance of soil fauna inoculation and the effect of adding vermicompost, an biodegradable material , to the sodic soil reclamation process, with the objective of generating a buffering mechanism in the soil against excessive inorganic fertilizer for farming

The presence of highly degraded sodic soils with nutrient deficits and crop development constraints, abandoned agriculture sites were identified for experiments and treated as follows. Rice and wheat were the crops investigated. The treatments (3 replicates) were as follows:

Each plot was divided into 12 units and pits were dug in each of the units The following four treatments were used to test the biological reclamation of the soil

1 Control (P1

2 Weed Compost (P2) aqautic weed as soil amendment.

3 Vermicompost (P3) the treatment was similar to P2 but in this case Vermicompost was used as a treatment material to reclaim the sodic soils.

4.WB+CD+VC (P4) Combined Compost Amendments of Weed Compost Vermicompost + Cowdung

Vermicompost collected  from vermiculture tanks used to raise earthworms in the area. The chemical fertiliser to organic matter ratio used during the agricultural cycle: I. Chemical fertiliser, II. Organic substance in its purest form and  III. 50:50 Organic materials vs. chemical fertiliser

The initial development of crop growth showed substantial differences between treatments. The period of disturbance and the type of agricultural operations were the elements that determined the community of earthworm structures. Sodicity and subsequent reclamation of soil for agricultural purposes resulted in the extinction of all three endemic species in sodic soil, with another endemic Glyphydrilus sp. recolonizing the area.

When compared to soils treated solely with chemicals, biological reclamation of sodic soils yields better results and has good effects on both paddy and wheat crop yields. This would not only help to increase crop output, but it might also help to restore soil biodiversity.

keywords: Biodegradable soil ; Earthworms ; Vermicompost ; Sustainable; Agriculture


Earthworm effect on organic matter turnover and plant growth immediate effect and legacy

Jan Frouz
Charles university, Benátská 2, 12800 PRAHA 2, Czech Republic
Biology Centre, Na Sádkách 7, 37005, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

Earthworms affect many soil properties such as nutrient availability and aggregate formation, which some of them are likely to have immediate effect on soil processes and plant growth others may have long term effect that may last even when the earthworms are no longer present in the system.  We call the latter effect the legacy.  The legacy effect is likely to affect also earthworm effect itself. By other words immediate effect of earthworms on soil processes may differ between soils where earthworms was present before from those which were devoted from earthworms.

This contribution summarize several experiments which try to detangle immediate and legacy effects of earthworm and their interactions on plat growth and soil organic matter turnover. Results show that earthworm introduced to soil which has not been affected by earthworm cause initial loss of carbon, but latter on stabilization. Mechanism prevail and earthworm may support accumulation of mineral protected soil organic matter.  However this apply in soils which are not C saturated. As concern effect on plant growth earthworm cause increase on plant growth in both h naïve soil as well as in  soil which has been treated by earthworms.  In young soils there is also strong legacy effect.  In mature soil earthworms affect support plant growth nutrient use efficiency. But the immediate and legacy effect are not additive. In mature soil earthworm effect are often less compare to control compare to naïve soil.

keywords: Plant growth; carbon; respiration, long term effect


Society + compost earthworms = collection centers : A success story in the transformation of urban organic waste in Puebla, Mexico

N. Reyes1, J.C. Patrón2.
Facultyof Chemical Engineering, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla, Mexico.
Agroecology Center-Institute of Sciences, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla, Mexico.

Vermicomposting is a low-cost and easy to implement technology that allows the degradation of organic waste due to the work of earthworms and microorganisms and through which vermicompost is obtained and it serves as a soil improver; in addition, it represents a solution to the problem of organic waste in Mexico that is currently not treated. However, to use this waste and obtain a good quality vermicompost there needs to be a source separation of these. The objective of this article is to implement an organic waste collection center in the city of Puebla, Mexicoto take advantage of this waste through vermicomposting and obtain a vermicompost of excellent quality. In this research, the measurement of the organic waste received in the collection center in the city of Puebla, Mexico was carried out for a period of 3 months to determine the social and environmental impact of its operation; as well as the characterization of the vermicompost that was obtained. The results showed that the collection center receives 1.6 tons weekly of organic waste from 175 families that make up a total of 700 people; additionally, through the linear regression method it was estimated that in 1 year, 57.6 tons of urban organic waste are received that can potentially be transformed into 19.2 tons of vermicompost where 75% of the material is usable and 25% of the material is not transformed by earthworms. Finally, vermicompost presented acceptable variables in the parameters of heavy metals and pathogenic microorganisms established weekly by National and International regulations. The results showed that the collection center serves as an intermediary for obtaining quality raw material for the vermicomposting process.

keywords: Organic waste; vermicompost; organic waste management; environmental education


Valuing the water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) to improve the quality of vermicompost

Manantsoa F.F.1,2, Raminoarison T. E.1, Ratsizafy I.2, Andrianandrasana D.M.2, Razakatiana A.T.2, Randriambanona H.2, Baohanta R.H.2, Ramanankierana H.2
1   Laboratoire de Biotechnologie-Microbiologie (Université d’Antananarivo Madagascar)
2  Laboratoire de Microbiologie de l’Environnement-Centre National de Recherches sur l’Environnement BP 1739 Fiadanana Antananarivo Madagascar

Invasive in many countries due to its rapid growth, the water hyacinth represent one of the main threat for aquatic ecosystem and the environment hence the interest of its valorization. Here, the main objective was to identify the optimal substrate composition which may produce a high quality vermicompost when using different form (Wet, dried, Powder) of water hyacinth. The following compositions were tested: S1 (basic substrate): Straw 30%+green waste 30%+Cow dung 40%; S2: Wet water hyacinth; S3: 25%S1+75%S2; S4: 50%S1+50%S2; S5: 75%S1+25%S2;S6: Dry water hyacinth; S7: 25%S1+75%S6; S8: 50%S1+50%S6; S9: 75%S1+25%S6; S10: Water hyacinth powdered; S11: 75%S10+25%S1; S12: 50%S10+50%S1; S13: 25%S10+75% S1 (S: substrate).The microbiological (density of beneficial microorganisms and overall microbial activity) and chemical (C, N, P, K...) properties of the vermicomposts produced were described. The basic substrate (S1) was used as a control.

Result showed that vermicomposts produced with the substrates composed by 50% S1 and 50% water hyacinth (wet, dried, or powdered : S4, S8, S12 respectively) were characterized by higher chemical and microbiological parameters. The S4 and S8 significantly improve potassium and phosphorus contents and Pseudomonas density compared to S1 (S1: P: 1.1%; K: 1.6% Pseudomonas: 45416 CFU/g soil; S4 and S8: P˃1.5%; K˃2% and Pseudomonas ˃ 58158 CFU/g soil). While S12 significantly increased the density and the diversity of beneficial microorganisms, the overall microbial activity and the nitrogen content of the vermicompost compared to the other treatments (N: 2.23%; Phosphate solubilizing bacteria: 101630.66 CFU/g soil; Actinomycetes: 45777.33 CFU/g soil; Azotobacter: 257877 CFU/g soil). This suggests that the powdered form of water hyacinth could have positive effects on microbial functioning in vermicompost.

keywords: Vermicompost ; water hyacinth; chemical quality; microbiological quality