Soil Organisms Have Favorite Forage Plants

Crotty, Felicity (2022) Soil Organisms Have Favorite Forage Plants. Frontiers for Young Minds, 10 (660785).

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Cows and sheep eat plants known as forages. Forage plants can include grass, chicory, and clover. Forage plants vary in nutrients and tastiness. These plants can also change the ecosystem belowground for soil animals. Soil animals may move to eat or live beneath different forages. Earthworms mix up the soil and food, improving the soil habitat. Fungi break down dead plants, and organisms that eat fungi speed up this breakdown process, which creates more food for other plants and soil animals. We tested which forage plants soil animals preferred. Large numbers of earthworms were found under white clover. Tiny fungal-feeding worms and springtails (insect-like creatures) were found in greater numbers under clover and chicory. Plant-eating soil animals compete with cows and sheep for food. These plant-eaters were found in larger numbers below ryegrass. Growing plants that increase the numbers of helpful soil animals can lead to healthier soils.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Divisions: Agriculture, Food and Environment
Depositing User: Doctor Felicity Crotty
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2022 08:46
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2022 08:46

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