I thought I would submit this post in this topic as it is relevant on the subject of aeration.
In this instance caused by worms existing on once hardened and eroded earth caused by overstocking of cattle in India.
Today I was looking into efforts that have been made to combat land degradation in India.
I googled "Land degradation India"
I came upon a site which described the amazing success of two brothers in the Karnataka region of India 400 km north of Bangalore. The brothers have discovered by trial and error a unique way to arrest the decline of their environment which is evident through soil erosion, increasing water scarcity and lower rainfall.
The brothers are of a Tribe called the Bana-vasi or "Forest Dweller"
They grow peppers and cardamom among a forest of Areca.
They were successful in enlisting the community in a collective effort to dig trenches on the hillside two meters long by 1m wide and 75 cm deep.
They worked two days a week and soon had covered an area of 100 Ha with 1500 trenches approximately 7m apart.
The idea was to allow the rainfall to be stored on the hillside long enough for it to be absorbed by the soil and utilised by the plant life.
The brothers estimate that they have managed to store in the hillside earth, the equivalent of the total annual water usage by the village population, a staggering amount of 14000 Kilolitres of water.
They have witnessed raised water levels in the village wells which were in danger of becoming dry from a low of 1 m of water in the well they now have 2.3 m of water in the wells.
In nearby Onnikere three ancient lakes that had become dry have now refilled enough to support a range of birdlife.
Erosion with the monsoonal rains which each year ravaged the forest floors has been halted by the trenches as well; the trees are producing a much larger crop of Areca nuts and are visibly healthier.
De-silting of the trenches was a huge job earlier but lately the community have been delighted to notice that earthworms have colonised the trenches and have been consuming the leaf litter and silt in the trenches and have allowed aeration of the trenches and hillside so that the percolation effect has begun to increase exponently.
Now all work cleaning the trenches is unnecessary and has been ceased.
The brothers have now become very well known and other communities have begun to come to learn from the success and have begun to implement their own rainwater conservation measures.
You can find more information at http://www.indiatogether.org/2007/jul/env-onnikere.htm
Is this not fascinating?