Dung Beetles: Mitigating climate change

Image of Casts burial

Image of Casts burial

Dung Beetles have a fantastic way to mitigate the effects of Climate Change in Australia.

Below you’ll find some information that will assist you in understanding how these curious little creatures assist.

Environmental and Economic benefits

  • Carbon burial and sequestration directly into the soil
    • Reduces the loss of CO2 to atmosphere (greenhouse gas emissions).
    • Helps the soil to retain moisture and nutrients.
    • Provides a readily available source of biological carbon for soil and plant growth.
    • Reduces input-costs for growing crops and pastures.
  • Nitrogen in animal dung is buried and sequestered direct into the soil
    • Minimises the loss of nitrogen as ammonia (NH3 ) to the atmosphere.
    • Mimimises the loss of nitrous oxide (N2O) to the atmosphere.
    • Reduces the requirement for nitrogen fertilizer and associated costs.
  • Recycling of phosphorous contained in animal dung directly into the soil.
    • Peak P is more significant to agriculture than climate change.
    • Also minimises shipping, cartage, storage and application costs of Phosphate fertilisers and the enormous generation of CO2 associated with the production and importation of this fertiliser.
  • Aeration of soil by burrowing beetles.
    • Enhances infiltration of rainfall and minimises loss from a reduced rainfall (as climate change increases the tendancy for drying with forecast higher temperatures and greater evaporation rates).
  • Almost immediate burial of wet and odorous dung from the soil surface into the soil.
    • Removal of dung that is the substrate for flies to lay eggs and support larvae resulting in a reduced source of flies that annoy and harm humans and other animals.
  • Provides opportunities for employment in new industries.
    • Provides opportunities for small business and employment in collection, research, breeding and finally the distribution of beetles.
    • Direct involvement by children of school age and is an ideal medium for education of the wider community in environmental issues and agricultural production.
  • Supports the principles and practices of sustainable agriculture
    • Underpins the principles and practices of’ reduce, reuse and recycle.’
    • Reduces the requirement for Nitrogen and Phosphorous inputs in agriculture.
    • Re-cycles and re-uses expensive plant nutrients via livestock dung.
    • Reduces demand for the supply of unsustainable nutrients such as Phosphorous.

Social impact benefits

  • Potential to significantly lessen the social annoyance and costs associated with degraded amenity caused by flies that breed in dung (with multiplier costs and benefits).
  • Potential to significantly reduce the incidence of disease and food spoilage (and associated costs) resulting from transference of pathogenic micro-organisms by flies (with multiplier costs and benefits).

Lively climate change effect on flies and other insects in Australia that utilise animal dung for their breeding cycles

  • Increasing air and soil temperatures promote the spread of buffalo fly and bush flies in both agricultural and social settings.
    • Increasing breeding of buffalo fly further south into southern Australia.
    • Increasing the subsequent potential for development and transmission of disease organisms.
    • Increasing direct and indirect costs involved in disease prevention plus veterinary and medical treatment resulting from flies acting as disease vectors.
  • Increased drying of soils with less rainfall and greater evaporation on southern Australian soils (as predicted by CSIRO and other modelling).
    • Requirement for increased power to enable agricultural implements to penetrate dryer and harder soils (which could be mitigated by dung beetle burrows).
    • Decreased water penetration and retention of rainfall, rendering otherwise marginal lands unable to be farmed productively and economically, with direct impacts on the social and economic viability of some rural regions plus an adverse impact on production of domestic and export commodities.

To find out more how Dung Beetles can improve your property, contact John Feehan here.