Earthworms see an earthworm wiggle their wayEarthworms see an earthworm wiggle their way

Earthworms are responsible for many things that can contribute into making our soil richer enough in order to grow healthier plants and to provide us with plentiful food and or crops. Earthworms began entering North America in as early as the 1600’s, when the first Europeans settlers arrived. Native earthworms remain deeper underground, in moist areas. When the British, French, Spanish and Dutch colonized in America, the large amount of migration colonized earthworms in the feet of these settlers, from walking in forest, and various land. Earthworms may fall into three main ecological categories; earthworms who don’t live in the soil, instead they live above, feeding off of leaves and on the fungi and bacteria that break down leaves. Secondly, there are earthworms that can move through the upper or higher layers of the soil, which feed on fungi and tiny creatures. Finally, there are earthworms that burrow deeply into the soil, creating communication between a large numbers of other earthworms. In this essay, we will be able to understand the importance of the relationship between earthworms and human, to realize that earthworms are like free farmer help and that the same way they are beneficial to our ecosystem they can also be quite harmful to other species. To begin with, interaction among humans and earthworms vary. Fisherman tends to seek the company of earthworms, yet not in a mutual beneficial matter. Fisherman capture earthworms, to attach them onto a fishing pole in order to catch fish, because most fish feed off earthworms. Earthworms have a sensory organ which allows them to make their skin sensitive to touch, so you will see an earthworm wiggle their way to escape from being captured from fisherman. But, the issue is, that we must understand that earthworm are as important to our ecosystem as we are to them, yet we fail to realize that if we don’t protect them we will affect our living as well. For instance, earthworms can help obtain the right amount of air and water that healthy soil needs. Moreover, we depend on earthworms for many reasons. They are able to breakdown organic matter, such as grass or leaves into particles that plants can benefit from. When earthworms eat, they tend to leave behind castings which become a variable source of fertilizers. Earthworms are able to improve drainage; their channeling and burrowing loosens soil, which makes drainage up to ten times faster than soil without earthworms. Under the influence of rain which earthworm enjoy, irrigation and gravity make earthworms create a passageway for lime and other materials to tunnel. But what are we doing to threaten earthworms, using Pesticides/chemical fertilizers that are sprayed on crops to help crops grow. Ammonia based fertilizer adversely affect earthworms. This affects their growth and development, for instance “Annual use of ammonia and sulfur coated urea has been shown to decrease earthworm population” (Ernst, D 1995). Earthworms that are in field that have not been sprayed are able to reproduce more and gain the normal weight that’s needed to be healthy. When the worm population decreases or is destroyed more chemicals are needed in order to keep our land productive and healthy. Plowing kills worms, which a lot of farmers do in order to break up the soil allowing air and water to get to seeds and roots of plants. Plowing can injured and expose them to predators, destroying their burrows and diminishing their food supply. Earthworms may act as plugs in their own burrows, and, in the case of the herbicide atrazine, earthworm-feeding activity may actually change the chemical to reduce its mobility (Farenhorst et al., 2000). Tillage affects the reproduction and lives of earthworms. Tilling consist of a machine which runs with blades through the soil. Tillage destroys the earthworms access in burrowing, which will result in not allowing earthworms to obtain the necessary energy they need in order to form a new burrow to retrieve their food source. “After 25 years of conventional tillage crop production earthworms population were only 11-16 % of what existed in the original grass field (Edwards and Bohlen, 1996).Therefore, what can we do to sustain and support the relationship with earthworms? In order for earthworms to be abundant we should increase organic matter, by reducing the use of some fertilizers and fungicides. Earthworms do not like soil that is too acid, therefore soil that contains dangerous fertilizers contain fewer earthworms and have poor source of soil. Moreover keeping soil moist, in order to allow earthworms to stay alive, because earthworms can lose a percentage of their body weight each day in mucus and castings. We can reduce soil compaction, because it is utterly difficult for earthworms to move through tight and heavily compacted soil, therefore keeping vehicles and animals traffic to a minimum in wet condition, is ideal for their daily exercise. In a Georgia experiment, soils who had no tillage and uses of compactor or vehicles, determined that “…2400 earthworm cast in no-till plots compared to 100 cast under conventional tillage”. (Edwards and lofty, 1977). Moreover, some solutions to ensure a mutual beneficial need of earthworms are crop rotations with pasture or hay may greatly increase earthworm numbers. Alfalfa and clover in rotation benefits earthworms’ numbers, due to the absence of tillage and the high protein content in their residue. Using cover crops can help prevent the earthworms more from the cold weather in the fall and from the warm/hot weather in the summer. Irrigation and drainage can be essential to earthworms, whereas irrigation increases crop production, resulting in more food and increases the earthworm populations. Irrigation of water that carry earthworms and their cocoons may act as a source of inoculum for certain species (Edwards et al., 1995). For which, drainage of poorly soil provides earthworms with a more pleasing environment. On the contrary, studies have concluded that the same way that earthworms can be essential to our lives and ecosystem they can also be extremely harmful. How so? Well, earthworms can cause a major shift in balance between soil and plants that animals need in order to survive. Even though earthworms are able to accelerate the movement of water through soil, it can also stimulate leaching of water through the soil into the groundwater, which in fact contributes to more water problems in our gardens and agricultural system. Today, in forest, earthworms are able to blend our soil with left behinds of dead plants such as fallen leaves and twigs, which can cause disastrous for the networking and communication of soil, water, plants and animals. Studies have shown that when invasive earthworms enter a healthy forest, they begin to change our ecosystem and destroy plants that native species depend upon in order for survival. In addition, earthworms influence the type of plants that can grow and the types of insects that can live. To conclude, earthworms are generally thought to be beneficial. However, as with other species, populations that are high in numbers may limit the control of action that earthworm may perform. Currently, there hasn’t been sufficient data collected to determine at what level an earthworm becomes a pest. But, it has been determined that where there is a large amount of earthworm, indicates that you obtain richer and healthier soil.