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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: More deep-burrowing and litter dwelling earthworms under no tillage than on organic or conventionally farmed arable plots; an experiment in France

Published source details

Pelosi C., Bertrand M. & Roger-Estrade J. (2009) Earthworm community in conventional, organic and direct seeding with living mulch cropping systems. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 29, 287-295


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Reduce tillage Farmland Conservation

A small replicated trial near Paris, France (Pelosi et al. 2009) found no difference in the total number of earthworms or earthworm (Lumbricidae) species on direct drilled (no-till) plots compared to conventionally farmed plots, but earthworm biomass was always higher in direct drilled plots. These plots had an average of 79 g earthworm/m2, compared to 32 g/m2 on conventional plots. There was a much higher proportion of deep-burrowing species (50% of all earthworms were deep-burrowing) in the direct-drilled plots than in conventional plots (13% of all earthworms). There was also a higher proportion of litter-dwelling earthworms in the direct drilling plots (14% of all earthworms, compared to 2% in conventional plots). From 1997 to 2007 treatments were compared on 1 ha arable plots, two replicates of each treatment. The direct drilled treatment involved a continuous plant cover ‘living mulch’ with herbicides used to control weeds and no tillage. Earthworms were sampled from five sample points in each plot by chemical extraction and hand-sorting, every autumn for three years (2005-2007).