In DepthBiodiversity

Spare a thought for the teeming ecosystem beneath your feet

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Science  11 Dec 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6522, pp. 1255-1256
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6522.1255

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  • RE: Spare a thought for the teeming ecosystem beneath your feet-Response
    • Muhammad Wajid Javed, Ph.D. Scholar and Entomologist, Department of Entomology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, 38000, Pakistan
    • Other Contributors:
      • Mansoor ul Hasan, Professor, Department of Entomology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, 38000, Pakistan
      • Muhammad Sagheer, Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, 38000, Pakistan
      • Shahbaz Talib Sahi, Professor and Director, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, 38000, Pakistan

    Lithosphere, or the soil ecosystem under our feet, is of immense consideration. No doubt, we, as humans, are ignoring the ultimate importance of soil ecosystem. Along with mentioned factors, the ignorance is largely being contributed due to aloofness and deliberate disregard of our soils and their resources. The efforts of Food and Agriculture Organization, are truly commendable to celebrate World Soil Day. The article has considered the very nature of soil dwelling microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, nematodes and of course, arthropods.
    Among arthropods, insects encompassing termites and ants are of colossal significance. They are the real macroscopic bio-engineers of our soils. Although, the entire soil biota is being degraded by various anthropogenic activities inadvertently but termites and ants are being killed under well-designed plans. Such actions are supported by the statements that termites or wood ants an important pest of furniture or woodworks etc.
    In real way, not all species of termites and ants destroy these households. There have been a range of species of these insects that use the soil only as their habitat and will not harm us. So, their presence should not provoke us to use toxic chemicals to destroy them intentionally, and a bulk of other soil engineers, unintentionally. Thus, such natural or bio-engineering agents needs to be conserved at the earliest time, keeping in view of their overwhelming benefits. These aspects should be cons...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: sparing a thought for the smallest of creatures

    Dear Elizabeth,
    Thank you so much for this thought provoking letter. It reminds us to spare a thought for the smallest of creatures.
    Sincerely,
    Soumya Banerjee

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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