Dung buried by dung beetles can store carbon in three different ways:
- Taking organic matter underground,
- The aeration of soil resulting from the beetle tunnel system together with the buried dung produces a healthy environment for microbial activity, which in turn stores massive amounts of carbon,
- The beetles are capable of burrowing through very compacted soils. This enables grass and other plant root systems to penetrate more deeply into zones which could not otherwise be accessed. These new excavations allow grass roots to penetrate deeper into such soils thereby locking up more carbon.
The overall benefits of dung beetle activity in grazing paddocks and catchment areas are as follows:
- Aerate the soil,
- Re-locates nitrogen and phosphorus in the dung to the grass root zone,
- Deepens topsoil by slowly cultivating and turning it over to a depth of 300mm, thereby producing an environment in which microbial activity thrives,
a habitatand food supply for earthworms,
- Reduces internal parasite loads in pastures through rapid burial of dung,
- Increase rain-water penetration and improves ground-water retention,
- Allows more nutrients and chemicals from herbicides and pesticides to penetrate dung beetle tunnels. This results in insecticides, wetting agents fertilizers and organic matter remaining in the paddock rather than entering waterways and dams,
- Enables the locked-up phosphate already in many Australian soils to be made available for plant utilisation via the dung beetle tunnel system,
- Reduces bush fly populations up to 99% (according to CSIRO research in Western Australia),
- Research in the USA revealed that 80% of the nitrogen in dung, when left on pastures, goes off into the atmosphere. When dung is well buried by dung beetles the loss is 20% with 80% being placed in the grass root zone.
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