International Journal of Agricultural Research and Reviews

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Sustainable Agriculture by Vermiculture: Earthworms and Vermicompost Can Ameliorate Soils Damaged by Agrochemicals, Restore Soil Fertility, Boost Farm Productivity and Sequester Soil Organic Carbon to Mitigate Global Warming

*1Rajiv K. Sinha, 2George Hahn, 3Brijalkumar K. Soni and 4Sunita Agarwal




Accepted 29th July, 2014


Agrochemicals which ushered in the ‘green revolution’ in the 1950-60’s, boosted food productivity, but at the cost of environment and society. It increased food production but also destroyed the ‘physical, chemical and the biological properties’ of soil over the years of use. It killed the beneficial soil organisms which help in renewing natural fertility. It also impaired the power of ‘biological resistance’ in crops making them more susceptible to pests and diseases. No farmland of world is free of toxic pesticides today. Over the years it has worked like a ‘slow poison’ for the soil with a serious ‘withdrawal symptoms’. Application of ‘composts’ in farming are thought to be the answer to the ‘restoration of damaged soils’, ‘promotion of high food productivity’ while also improving ‘soil fertility’. The scientifically produced ‘composts’ from food and farm wastes, with recent knowledge in biotechnologies are highly productive ‘organic fertilizer’ than those produced earlier by farmers in conventional ways. Among them the vermicompost made by biodegradation of waste organics by waste eater earthworms are scientifically proving to be a great ‘soil conditioner and ameliorator’ increasing the total physical, chemical and biological properties of soil, removing chemical contaminants from farm soil, restoring essential nutrients and improving soil fertility and promoting high crop productivity’. It is superior to all conventionally prepared composts giving productivity equivalent to, or even better than the chemical fertilizers. The earthworms germinated from the cocoons in vermicompost further help in conditioning the soils and improving its quality and fertility. Earthworms are great soil managers. More significantly, compost use in farms has potential to ‘sequester’ huge amounts of atmospheric carbon (CO2) and bury them back into the soil improving soil fertility and also mitigating global warming. Application of all composts to the soil can lead either to a build-up of soil organic carbon (SOC) over time, or a reduction in the rate at which soil organic matter (SOM) is being depleted from soils – thus benefiting the soil and the environment in every way. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2000) recognised that carbon (C) sequestration in soils as one of the possible measures through which the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and global warming can be mitigated.


Keywords: Earthworms as Soil Managers; Vermicomposts Can Ameliorate Chemically Contaminated and Damaged Soils; Vermicompost – Enrich Soils With Essential Nutrients and  beneficial Soil Microbes; Composts – Sequester Atmospheric Carbon in Soil and Mitigate Global Warming.