Abundance and Diversity of Top Soil Earthworms in Relation to Chemical Use in Golden Rose Agrofarm, Tefki Area, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Despite the current environmental controversies, flower farms are becoming hot areas of investment in Ethiopia. Golden Rose Agro Farm is one of the largest, and the pioneer, flower industries in the country. To study the abundance and distribution of top soil earthworms in relation to chemical use in the farm, a total of 208 1mx1 m quadrates were marked on the ground in 10 randomly selected greenhouses. Similarly, 208 quadrates were marked in the outside chemical-free farm for comparison. Soil was then dug to a depth of 15 cm in all of the marked quadrates and hand-sorted to collect top soil earthworms. Eight plastic buckets, each filled with soil at 15 cm depth, were taken and 15 adult worms originally from chemical-free soil were introduced in to each and all were put in the greenhouses, some under chemical treatment and some free for comparison. Worms from the rose farm were also transferred to chemicalfree soil and changes were observed after 20 days. Earthworms were taxonomically identified to genus level using taxonomic keys. There was strong statistically significant variation in abundance of both adult and juvenile top soil earthworms between the two farms (P < 0.01, α=0.05). Out of the 75 adult worms introduced into the chemical-treated buckets, 98.7% (74) were dead, and in the Chemical-free buckets, out of the 45 worms originally introduced, about 95.6% (38 adult and 5 juveniles) were recaptured. About four genera of earthworms were identified in the study area, but majority of them belong to the genus Eiseniella and Dendrobaena. Seasonal variation in number and distribution of earthworms was also observed in the study. Chemical use in Golden Rose Agrofarm strongly affected abundance and distribution of top soil earthworms in the area