Saturday, April 6, 2013

Can of Worms



I started vermi composting last year. It was one of the first projects I did and it worked. You can find my simple project in my previous post.  I had the vermicompost I needed for last season. Unfortunately, I left my bin outside and subjected it to the outside elements.   Needless to say, the redworms did not have their happily ever after. 

As a gardener, worms are my best friends. Interestingly, there is another side to worms. Invasive species of earthworms (earthworms introduced into area where they did not exist) have created havoc to the delicate balance of nature. This is the case in the temperate or temperate-coniferous forests of North America.

For the same reason why we love worms as decomposers, many native species of plants in the temperate forests cannot survive due to the worm efficiency in redistributing nutrients throughout the soil... Sorry for opening up a can of worms...in the circle of life and the delicate balance of it.

 

2 comments:

  1. More on the invasive aspects of worms in northern U.S. areas can be read here: https://sharepoint.cahnrs.wsu.edu/blogs/urbanhort/archive/2011/04/11/invasion-of-the-killer-earthworms.aspx

    If I've read the literature right, the areas of most concern are the areas that were under glaciation during the last ice age, which destroyed the native worm populations.

    Introduced species of worms (night crawlers, for example) have changed the ecology of those areas that had recovered and created (until recently) a wormless environment, with plant species and successions adapted to that wormless environment. Now that the worms are there, the species and successions are being impacted. The areas that were not under glaciation are less impacted, since the native worm species were never wiped out, so their actions, in addition to the actions of the introduced species have created less of a change in the overall ecology. Map of glaciation here:
    http://www.iceagenow.com/Extent_of_Previous_Glaciation.htm

    My takeaway (subject to further clarification) is that we can still like worms in our areas (Southern PA, Maryland, etc., without feeling guilty. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. It impacts more in the Northern states…

      …Another great article http://www.nrri.umn.edu/worms/forest/not
      that further provided add'l info relating to the subject. Thanks. signed, ee

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