Earthworms invading forests throughout the region are probably being introduced by anglers. That’s the conclusion of a new study. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Stephanie Hemphill reports:
Earthworms invading forests around the Great Lakes are probably
being introduced by anglers. That’s the conclusion of a new
study. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Stephanie Hemphill
Earthworms are good for gardens. But in forests they eat up the
thick layer of leaves on the forest floor.
Lee Frehlich is with the University of Minnesota. He supervised
“Many of the tree seedlings and the wildflowers that live in the
forest are actually rooted in all of this leaf material. So when
the worms eat that, their rooting material is literally eaten out
from under them, so a lot of them die.”
The study found in some areas infested with worms, there were
half as many young sugar maples as in worm-free areas. Birds
that use leaves for nests on the ground could also decline.
Frelich says anglers should bring any unused earthworms back home
with them, rather than dumping them in the lake.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Stephanie Hemphill.