Decades of studies have shown that soil macrofauna, especially earthworms, play dominant engineering roles in soils, affecting physical, chemical, and biological components of ecosystems. Quantifying these effects would allow crucial improvement in biogeochemical budgets and modeling, predicting response of land use and disturbance, and could be applied to bioremediation efforts. Effective methods of manipulating earthworm communities in the field are needed to accompany laboratory microcosm studies to calculate their net function in natural systems and to isolate specific mechanisms. This chapter reviews laboratory and field methods for enumerating and manipulating earthworm populations, as well as approaches toward quantifying their influences on soil processes and biogeochemical cycling.
Part of the book: Forest Ecology and Conservation