A review of earthworm impact on soil function and ecosystem services

M. Blouin, M.E. Hodson, E.A. Delgado, G. Baker, L. Brussaard, K.R. Butt, J. Dai, L. Dendooven, G. Peres, J.E. Tondoh, D. Cluzeau, J.J. Brun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

384 Citations (Scopus)


Biodiversity is responsible for the provision of many ecosystem services; human well-being is based on these services, and consequently on biodiversity. In soil, earthworms represent the largest component of the animal biomass and are commonly termed ecosystem engineers'. This review considers the contribution of earthworms to ecosystem services through pedogenesis, development of soil structure, water regulation, nutrient cycling, primary production, climate regulation, pollution remediation and cultural services. Although there has been much research into the role of earthworms in soil ecology, this review demonstrates substantial gaps in our knowledge related in particular to difficulties in identifying the effects of species, land use and climate. The review aims to assist people involved in all aspects of land management, including conservation, agriculture, mining or other industries, to obtain a broad knowledge of earthworms and ecosystem services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-182
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • polycyclic aromatic-hydrocarbons
  • northern hardwood forests
  • south-eastern australia
  • ray computed-tomography
  • organic-matter dynamics
  • oil-contaminated soil
  • pb/zn mine tailings
  • nitrous-oxide n2o
  • lumbricus-terrestris
  • plant-growth

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A review of earthworm impact on soil function and ecosystem services'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Blouin, M., Hodson, M. E., Delgado, E. A., Baker, G., Brussaard, L., Butt, K. R., Dai, J., Dendooven, L., Peres, G., Tondoh, J. E., Cluzeau, D., & Brun, J. J. (2013). A review of earthworm impact on soil function and ecosystem services. European Journal of Soil Science, 64(2), 161-182. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejss.12025