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Acta Ecologica Sinica
Volume 41 (6), 2021, Pages 512-523

Earthworms and eco-consequences: Considerations to soil biological indicators and plant function: A review

SalwanAl-Malikia, Duraid K.A. Al-Taeyb, Huda Zuhair Al-Mammoric

Soil and Water Science Department, College of Agriculture, Al-Qasim Green University, Al Qasim, Iraq.


Earthworms have been well reported to have a beneficial effect on soil microbes, soil microbial biomass (SMB), fungal community, soil structure, water retention and plant growth in different terrestrial ecosystems. However, the interactions between environmental stressors and various species of earthworms and the subsequent effect on soil microbes, organic matter, soil structure and plant growth are still uncertain. The purpose of this analysis was to test 1- the impact of environmental stressors on earthworm behaviour. 2- the effect of various earthworms on soil microbes, plant growth, soil structure and the carbon cycle. We noted that less fatal temperatures are generally unknown, but higher fatal temperatures range from 25 to 48 °C. Earthworms have a role to play, depending on the nature of organic residues, in both the formation and degradation of soil aggregates. Improvements in microbial biomass and plant growth have been established according to temperature, soil toxicity, soil type, earthworms abundance, organic residues types and field conditions. We observed that although the summer temperature in the arid area was approximately (°C 48), it was found that a particular type of earthworm (Namalycastis indica) was responsible for improving soil characteristics.While a great deal of analysis has been carried out on the role of earthworms within the soil ecology, such a review identifies important knowledge gaps, particularly in the determination of the impacts of earthworm species on the soil structure, microbial biomass and plant productivity, in particular since most papers focused on European species and overlooked the role of earthworms in the arid landscape. Further research is recommended to compare the impacts of different earthworms species on soil microbes and plant growth in various soil types, earthworm abundance, field conditions, organic residues locations, inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, fertile or non-fertile soils and diverse conditions of drought and moisture.

Keywords: Earthworms, Soil microbes, Plant production, Soil structure, Environmental stressors.

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