Earthworms increase soil fertility and carbon storage by mixing in dead plant material. Mapping these benefits is not yet possible because we do not know how many and what types of earthworms there are in UK soils. Data from soil in urban areas is particularly lacking, despite gardens and other green spaces making up a large percentage of urban space (e.g. 14% of Greater London). Globally, soils store roughly 80% of terrestrial carbon, meaning it’s vital that we better understand how soil carbon stocks - as well as the other benefits earthworms provide - are affected by our management of soils. Your survey will be used to map these key benefits – productivity, flood protection and carbon storage – that are mediated by earthworms in the UK, and to predict how the maps might change under different possible futures.
To assess how the abundance and diversity of earthworms respond to different land uses and land management as well as to other environmental conditions and how do three ecosystem benefits provided by earthworms – soil carbon storage, soil productivity and flood protection – vary across the UK.