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Its importance and role in the environment


Without the decomposition work of worms and microorganisms, nutrients would be eternally trapped in the dead organic matter and would not return to the life cycle, making them scarce and making life on Earth as we know it impossible.

Much more important than you think

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A brief description of worms 

Many people look at worms with a certain fear, which is understandable, since the worm is a mucous-skinned, gooey animal that live underground. They are often despised and even considered disgusting by human beings.


However, if we stop to reflect on their relevance to the environment, perhaps we can reconsider them.


Worms play a very important role in the ecosystem, especially with regard to flora, where they take responsibility for the production of humus, the food for plants.


They are annelids that live under the ground; they have neither ears nor eyes. They have cells that are very sensitive to light, which makes them always look for places with little light, and they have cutaneous respiration, which is why they always look for humid places.


Their lifespan ranges from 10 to 12 years. However, in the wild, worms usually live at most one or two seasons due to their susceptibility to a wide range of predators.

Soil fertility

Although all species of worms contribute to the breakdown of organic matter, they differ greatly in the manner in which they do this breakdown.


Some species limit their activity to the decomposition of the topsoil. Their main role is to break down organic matter into fine particles, which facilitates microbial activity.

Other species live just below the soil surface most of the year, except when the weather is very cold or very dry. They have no permanent burrows and ingest organic matter and inorganic substances.


There are also species that live in the soil with permanent, deep burrows. These consume mainly organic matter, but also ingest considerable quantities of inorganic substances, which they mix into the soil as a whole. The latter are of prime importance in the formation of soil.

All this work of fragmenting organic matter causes the entire life cycle to renew itself, which facilitates the decomposition by the microorganisms.

Soil aeration and drainage

With all this activity by digging their burrows, worms increase the porosity of the soil. Thus, they make more air (oxygen) available and allow a higher water infiltration rate, which translates into great benefits for plants.

Forming nutrients for the soil

During worm feeding, the carbon-nitrogen ratio in the organic matter falls progressively, and not only is most of the nitrogen converted into the form of ammonium or nitrate, but other nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium develop at the same time and become available to the plants.

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