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earthworms not native to Canada/Great Lakes

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#1 Guest_onegreenday_*

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 12:37 PM

I came across this info today. Looks like exotic earthworms are bad for forests. From the website Great Lakes Worm Watch:

"Ask anyone on the street if earthworms are good for ecosystems and you will undoubtedly receive a resounding “YES!”. When asked why, they may say something like “earthworms mix and aerate the soil”. It is a basic ecological concept that we may have learned as early as kindergarten. However, recent research on invasion of these seemingly benevolent creatures into previously worm-free hardwood forests of the Great Lakes Region has seriously challenged that belief. Researchers at the University of Minnesota, and elsewhere, have documented dramatic changes in native hardwood forest ecosystems when exotic earthworms invade. These changes including losses of native understory plant species and tree seedlings, changes in soil structure and declines in nutrient availability. There is also fascinating evidence emerging that the changes caused by exotic earthworms may lead to a cascade of other changes in the forest that affect small mammal, bird and amphibian populations, increase the impacts of herbivores like white-tailed deer, and facilitate invasions of other exotic species such as European slugs and exotic plants like buckthorn and garlic mustard. These results suggest that exotic earthworms may pose a grave threaten the biodiversity and long term stability of hardwood forest ecosystems in the region. Much more research is needed." <snip>

Great Lakes Worm Watch

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#2 jangel


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Posted 05 July 2008 - 02:22 PM

That is really interesting. I wonder what type of exotic worms they are. I know what commen earth worms look like, and red wigglers, the ones used in composting do not live outside in this country all year long as they die with the cold, but I am not positive of that. It will take me some time to read through all this. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for posting this! Ya never know what will be next.

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