Litterbag and Soil Fauna Studies

Chemicals that reach the soil may potentially have harmful effects on the non-target invertebrate fauna present, including organisms that are important in the processes that result in the breakdown of organic litter. There is, therefore, a requirement to demonstrate that such chemicals have no lasting effect on the degradation rate of organic matter lying in treated soil. Although there is currently no internationally-agreed guideline, evaluation techniques currently being considered in Europe involve so-called ‘litterbag’ studies. For these, parcels of organic straw are buried in soil at the time of treatment and assessments are made at regular intervals of their rate of decomposition. We have experience with such litterbag studies and can offer advice on their design and implementation.

We are also able to carry out field studies to determine the effects of treatments on the soil meso- and macro-fauna. Standard ecological sampling methods and extraction techniques (such as Tullgren funnels) are used in making a full faunal audit of soil invertebrates both before and at intervals after treatment. This is one of the best ways for assessing gross effects on key groups such as springtails (Collembola) and soil mites.


Soil Invertebrates

Collembola, Soil Mite &
Earthworm Studies

Litterbag & Soil Fauna

Tel: +44 23 8076 2580 | Email: