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Revista de Ciências Agrárias

Print version ISSN 0871-018X


STEFFEN, Gerusa Pauli Kist; ANTONIOLLI, Zaida Inês; STEFFEN, Ricardo Bemfica  and  JACQUES, Rodrigo Josemar Seminoti. Environmental and ecological importance of earthworms. Rev. de Ciências Agrárias [online]. 2013, vol.36, n.2, pp.137-147. ISSN 0871-018X.

The earthworms represent a major group of soil organisms active in the process of moving particles and nutrient cycling. This paper aims to discuss the importance of earthworms to improve and maintain the sustainability of agroecosystems, emphasizing forms of community assessment of earthworms in the soil and its use as a tool in environmental assess­ments. Through constant movement and activity of soil ingestion and organic waste, they build galleries that contribute to increase the aeration and water infiltration in the soil. The release of faeces on the surface and within the soil positively modify its structure and fertility. The density and diversity of earthworms in agroecosystems can be determined by dif­ferent extraction methods. Some species of earthworms, because they are excellen to changes in land use and management, are sensitive environmental bioindicators, representing an important tool to asses impacts on ecosystems.

Keywords : Agroecosystems; oligochaetes; sustainability.

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