Biological Invasions

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 1317–1329

Policy and management responses to earthworm invasions in North America

  • Mac A. CallahamJr.
  • Grizelle González
  • Cynthia M. Hale
  • Liam Heneghan
  • Sharon L. Lachnicht
  • Xiaoming Zou
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-006-9016-6

Cite this article as:
Callaham, M.A., González, G., Hale, C.M. et al. Biol Invasions (2006) 8: 1317. doi:10.1007/s10530-006-9016-6

Abstract

The introduction, establishment and spread of non-native earthworm species in North America have been ongoing for centuries. These introductions have occurred across the continent and in some ecosystems have resulted in considerable modifications to ecosystem processes and functions associated with above- and belowground foodwebs. However, many areas of North America have either never been colonized by introduced earthworms, or have soils that are still inhabited exclusively by native earthworm fauna. Although several modes of transport and subsequent proliferation of non-native earthworms have been identified, little effort has been made to interrupt the flow of new species into new areas. Examples of major avenues for introduction of earthworms are the fish-bait, horticulture, and vermicomposting industries. In this paper we examine land management practices that influence the establishment of introduced species in several ecosystem types, and identify situations where land management may be useful in limiting the spread of introduced earthworm species. Finally, we discuss methods to regulate the importation of earthworms and earthworm-containing media so that introduction of new exotic species can be minimized or avoided. Although our focus in this paper is necessarily North American, many of the management and policy options presented here could be applicable to the problem of earthworm invasions in other parts of the world.

Keywords

Biological invasion Quarantine Biogeography Earthworms Lumbricidae Megascolecidae Glossoscolecidae Introduced species Exotics 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mac A. CallahamJr.
    • 1
  • Grizelle González
    • 2
  • Cynthia M. Hale
    • 3
  • Liam Heneghan
    • 4
  • Sharon L. Lachnicht
    • 5
  • Xiaoming Zou
    • 6
  1. 1.USDA Forest Service, Southern Research StationAthensUSA
  2. 2.USDA Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical ForestryRío PiedrasUSA
  3. 3.The Natural Resources Research InstituteUniversity of MinnesotaDuluthUSA
  4. 4.DePaul University, Environmental Science ProgramChicagoUSA
  5. 5.USDA Agricultural Research ServiceMorrisUSA
  6. 6.Institute for Tropical Ecosystem StudiesUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA

Personalised recommendations