acegardens's picture

Lawn biodiversity

I am trying to organise a national test of the biodiversity in organic lawns and the soil, and compare this to chemically treated lawns. The aim is to take up a m2 section of lawn and count all the invertibrates and worms in the grass and the soil below.

I have posted this topic on the
landscapejuicenetwork forum and was told to try and get advice here.
The post is

I am trying to devise a test that is easily done by all those that are willing to participate. Basically I need to know the best way of counting/finding all the insects, and the best time of year to do this.



Martin Harvey's picture

counting insects

That's a big ask! To find and count all the invertebrates in even a small area of soil is hard to do, and to identify them even harder! However, you might be able to pick up some general trends by choosing a few groups (e.g. worms, beetles, millipedes etc.), identifying them just to group level and counting those.

One technique for extracting soil invertebrates is to use a Tullgren funnel, for info see these links: [video]

See also the OPAL soils and earthworms survey, which has been designed for anyone to use and has been successfully applied in a variety of contexts:

The most comprehensive study of garden invertebrates that I'm aware of is the Sheffield University BUGS project, from which there is lots of information to download:

Entomologist and biological recorder