Blog written by Young Ambassador Katie for World Soil Day

Hi! I’m Katie and I have a particular interest in animal conservation and I’m hoping to study zoology at university. This interest has fuelled me throughout my life, immersing me in nature and developing my obsession with animals! I am currently in L6, where there is an option for us to complete an EPQ, which of course I have dedicated to my love of animals and curiosity into the subject! Having brainstormed many ideas, I eventually decided to research into “Keystone Species” and their profound impacts on not only their local habitats/ecosystems, but also their effects on us, as humans.

A keystone species is a “species with a disproportionally large effect on the communities in which it occurs” and without these species, ecosystem architectures would collapse, changing life or stopping it altogether. These species are found across the world, ranging from elephants in Africa whose destruction of trees and shrubs open up the savannah, and whose tusks allow them to dig for water – enabling not just them but also other organisms to survive, to the tiny earthworms which can be found in your garden.

Earthworms are ranked the most influential species in history.

The roles of earthworms include:

  • Being recyclers – helping to increase the fertility of soils, estimated to increase crop yields by 30%.
  • Acting as a barometer of soil health and toxicity – helpful to access impacts of different land usages and pollutants.
  • Being soil engineers – helping to increase soil fertility and prevent flooding and erosion.
  • Finally, they can help repair damaged soil and they may provide solutions to man-made problems (e.g., helping to clean up land contaminated with toxic heavy metals).

Photo of an earthworm

Having understood all of these essential jobs which earthworms complete, it is highly necessary that we protect these important keystone species, with which the soils and life on our planet depend.

Without earthworms we would have lower crop yields, higher levels of pollution and higher levels of flooding.

Therefore, when you next find an earthworm in your garden, don’t think of it as a tiny, insignificant creature, think of it as one of the main components which holds the planet together, the planet which you depend on.

Learn more about earthworms and how to welcome them to your garden:

Download a free Go Wild for Worms leaflet

More actions for wildlife