Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

C. Geitner, A. Mätzler, A. Bou-Vinals, E. Meyer and M. Tusch:

Soil characteristics and colonization by earthworms (Lumbricidae) on pastures and hay meadows in the Brixenbach valley (Kitzbühel Alps, Tyrol)


For higher elevations in the Alps, there is scant information on soils, even less on colonization by earthworms. Our investigations of alpine pastures and hay meadows between 910 and 1736 m a.s.l. in the Brixenbach valley focus on the interrelation of site and soil conditions with colonization by earthworms. In the diverse catchment area, soil parameters as well as biomass and abundance of earthworms (Oktett method and Kempson extraction) are highly variable. Even within the test fields, we found considerable small-scale differences. Statistical analysis (variance, redundancy and multiple regression analysis) of the alpine pastures shows that soil organic matter, thickness of the organic layer and pH value have a strong impact on the biomass of earthworms, dependent on their ecological groups (epigeic, endogeic and hemi-edaphic). Land-use (e.g. kind of nutrient input) is another factor in colonization by earthworms.

Key words: soil, earthworms, Alps, site factors, multiple regression.