Main content area

Is earthworm a protagonist or an antagonist in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the soil?

Singh, A., Singh, G. S.
International journal of environmental science and technology 2019 v.16 no.2 pp. 1145-1158
antagonists, bioturbation, carbon dioxide, carbon sequestration, digestive system, earthworms, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, methane, microorganisms, nitrous oxide, soil, soil fertility, temperature
GHG emissions have become a serious issue throughout the globe. Various anthropogenic and natural activities contribute to increasing GHG emissions from the soil. Earthworm is an important animal due to its various applications, including increasing soil fertility by bioturbation process, thus influencing the GHG emission. Globally, the effect of earthworms is supposed to upsurge over the coming decades; they will not only enhance the carbon sequestration in the soils but will enhance the release of greenhouse gases such as N₂O, CO₂, and CH₄. It is a debatable topic whether earthworms act as an origin or sink of GHG from the soil. However, in this review, we have focused on all the factors which are involved in either sequestration or emission of GHG by earthworm and microbes present in their gut, viz. increased temperature, residues, and ecological category of earthworms. Based on the current knowledge, there is clear indication that GHG emissions are elevated through bioturbation process. Furthermore, an investigation is needed to know the components involved in GHG emissions. However, we recommend a full accounting of the factors involved in GHG emission and factors that should be considered to mitigate the increased temperature worldwide.