Dung beetles and their effects on soil | ManagingWholes.com


Submitted by Peter Donovan on Thu, 07/08/2010 – 20:16

Patricia & Dick Richardson

Summary: Favored by managed grazing, dung beetles in Oklahoma buried about 1 ton of wet manure per acre per day (2 metric tons/ha). This increased water infiltration an average of 129% on studied plots. Each extra inch (25 mm) of water absorbed adds 27,225 gallons/acre (254,530 l/ha) of water to the soil, reducing both flooding and drought.

Healthy soil is an extremely complex civilization of living organisms. We humans often ignore using soil organisms as a tool, because they are so small, so easily out of sight and out of mind. Yet, healthy soil is the corner stone of diversity and health for both plants and animals.

On pasture and rangeland grazed by livestock, the dung beetle is a soil organism that is visible to humans, beneficial to soil health and easily monitored. They are valuable as a soil restoration tool to increase organic matter, aerate, remove non-point source pollution, increase water infiltration, and help control pest insects. They work for free and love their work. The only consideration needed is to not use insecticides/parasiticides that poison them.

Pat Richardson

Fresh cow pad.

Pat Richardson

13 hours later, after being worked by O. gazella dung beetles.

Earthworms first appeared where dung beetles were most active. Today harvester ants build their mounds with earthworm castings.

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120
Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV

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