Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust

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Biodiversity & Wildlife


ladybird.JPG (19044 bytes) The Ryegrasses of the intensive grassland support a number of herbivorous invertebrates including aphids. These will be hunted by carnivores such as ladybirds, spiders, groundbeetles and small mammals such as shrews.
moles.JPG (29764 bytes) Some animals present problems for the farmer. Animals such as moles are discouraged because their molehills, areas of pushed up soil, intrude into the field. This not only hinders the operation of machinery but more importantly, the soil in silage fields is gathered up by the harvesting machinery along with the grass. The result is a large area of spoiled silage because the soil interferes with the ensiling process. As well as moles, the soil hosts millions of microfauna such as nematodes, protozoa and rotifers. There is also a mesofauna of tardigrades, mites, springtails and earthworms.
soil2.JPG (34080 bytes) The macrofauna of the soil includes animals which may also live in the litter. Examples would be ants, centipedes, millipedes, slugs, leatherjackets and groundbeetles. At least three to four thousand species of bacteria also exist in the soil. Half a teaspoon of soil can contain about a billion bacterial cells. These bacteria are essential to ensure the fertility of the soil. However, this apparent diversity of living things is still small when compared to non-intensive pastures, fields, woodlands and hedges, which have now been replaced by development and intensive farming.


More on soil bacteria here (external link)