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Earthworms "Nuke" Minnesota Forests With Vengeance E-mail
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Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Earthworms "Nuke" Minnesota Forests With Vengeance

By Marc Rayburn


Earthworms: The Dark Side of a Good Friend to the Soil – wrote Anne Raver of The New York Times  http://www.wormdigest.org/content/view/378/2/

Move over skidders and log trucks - the lowly earthworm is now being blamed for degrading the Northwood's duff. "Seeing how they can nuke an area is amazing," says Cindy Hale, who is sometimes called Worm Woman. Ms. Hale, working with Minnesota DNR and Worm Watch, has managed to place a worm dumping caution at 1,000 bait shops and guides have gone out to 1.7 million licensed fishermen on bait disposal.

A news story from the Northwoods of Minnesota has me scratching my bald head. The accusation is that the lowly earthworm, not a native of glacially parented forest floor, is an invasive exotic that can devour a forest duff layer in three to five years. This will adversely affect plant and animal life.

Ms. Cindy Hale, also called Worm Woman, is working with state and local governments to control the dumping of bait worms near lakes and rivers.  She suggests that the worm is spreading because of human ignorance and escapees multiplying over a period of centuries.

On the Talk of the Nation radio show it was mentioned that an invasion of worms is threatening forests in the Northeast and Midwest. Peter M. Groffman, senior scientist at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., explained why worms might not be your garden's best friend.

The problem is particularly apparent in the Chippewa National Forest.   

John Casson, a biologist with the Chippewa National Forest, says "There's a whole ecosystem that's being fundamentally altered by this loss of duff layer.”  Earthworms have eaten patches of the forest floor down to dirt.

Then, Ms. Beth Dailey of The Boston Globe and Ms. Jessica Marshall of New Scientist joined in with attacking the earthworm.  http://www.wormdigest.org/content/view/376/2/      and  http://www.wormdigest.org/content/view/372/2/

It appears Amy Stewart, Jamie Melvin and Clive Edwards disagree with Ms. Anne Raver of the New York Times.  I agree with Amy, Jamie and Clive in the latest controversial debate.  I think their comments and others from  people who read the The New York Times article were pretty funny.  http://www.wormdigest.org/content/view/382/2/

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 May 2007 )
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