Soil Nematodes and Biodiversity

SoilKeepers provides Regenerative Landscape Management to Estates and Farm Clients in Virginia. People ask what is regenerative landscaping? To us this means the reawakening of soil organisms that can continuously regenerate with little to no human intervention and provide all or most of the nutrients plants need to thrive.

To the public we say this – folks, there is a whole world below our feet – perhaps as unexplored as the deepest parts of our oceans, that we have only begun to understand.

But we now know they are there. And we now know they affect terrestrial biodiversity and biogeochemical cycling (this includes climate greenhouse and Chesapeake Bay nitrogen and phosphorus cycling) in powerful ways.

Based then on the precautionary principle at a minimum it seems appropriate to take great care when engaging in activities that may affect working landscapes. To do this would be a new way of engaging with the land, a way that is more cautious and careful than modern human civilizations have contemplated.

At SoilKeepers this is what we are trying to help our clients to do. We are explorers learning of a new world with new animals just as surely as were the first Clovis that crossed the Bearing Land Bridge. In their odyssey to North American for the first time they came face to face with Sabertooth Tigers, Shortfaced Bears, and Giant Mastodons. And in the same way we come face to face with bacteria, fungi, protozoan, and nematodes.

In this world, the Nematode is the apex predator – the lion of this world underneath out feet. It seems that how the nematode (and fungi) go, so goes the health of the ecosystem. This is why SoilKeepers studies the diversity of nematodes and other soil organisms in our clients’ landscapes and based upon our soil biology and chemistry testing and analyses prescribe treatments to enhance and maintain the health of these incredible aquatic animals and their world.

Others are thinking along these lines – realizing how sensitive are the needs of other species – that we depend on in ways that we were never aware. Below is a podcast interview with Jim Cane, retired USDA scientist on fire and effects of restoration efforts on native bees.