Earthworms and post agricultural succession in the Neotropics
Earthworms are classified into endogeic, anecic, and epigeic species to represent soil, soil and litter, and litter feeders, respectively (Bouché 1977). Earthworms can alter soil physical properties and biogeochemical processes (e.g., Ewards and Bohlen 1996) according to their functionality. Endogeic earthworms alter soil properties primarily through changing soil physical and chemical properties and epigeic earthworms mainly affect microbial inoculation and the associated decomposition processes. Anecic earthworm influence soils through both borrowing and inoculation activities (González et al. 2006). Plant community succession alters the quantity and chemistry of organic inputs to soils (Zoun and González 1997). These differences in input influence patterns of response of the soil biota as do tree species during the process of change from pastures to post-agricultural forests. In addition, land use history and invasions by earthworm exotic species can affect relative abundance and species composition of a local earthworm fauna distinctly from soil, climate, vegetation, and topography (Hendrix and Bohlen 2002).