Earthworms in Soil Restoration: Lessons Learned from United Kingdom Case Studies of Land Reclamation

Authors


Address correspondence to K. R. Butt; email krbutt@uclan.ac.uk

Abstract

Restoration ecology requires theoretical consideration of a habitat’s former structure and function before the practice of ecological restoration is applied. However, experience has shown that this does not always occur and aspects such as soil ecology have often been an afterthought. Here, case study material relates the use of earthworms at selected sites in the United Kingdom. Due to their soil-forming capabilities, these organisms may be essential to reconstruction of soils when drastic activities have despoiled an area. While describing in brief the type of work undertaken, these case studies seek to illustrate some of the misunderstandings/problems/deliberately negative acts that have too often accompanied use of earthworms in soil restoration. From such experiences, implications for practice are suggested that should lead to a greater understanding and appropriate utilization of earthworms in future projects.

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