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Earthworms as natural capital: ecosystem service providers in agricultural soils

By Aidan M. Keith and David A. Robinson


The activities of earthworms have wide-ranging impacts on soil-based processes in agricultural systems and play a key role in mediating soil Ecosystem Services. We discuss the effects of earthworms in the context of Natural Capital and Ecosystem Service frameworks and suggest that the broad functional groups of earthworms (Epigeic, Anecic and Endogeic) can be used as Ecosystem Service Provider units. Differences in the relative influence of these functional groups on key soil processes demonstrates their potential utility for monitoring and valuing soil Ecosystem Services under different land management options and highlights that management for particular functional groups could be used to promote specific Ecosystem Services

Topics: Agriculture and Soil Science, Ecology and Environment
Year: 2012
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