The Role of Soil Insects as Allogenic Ecosystem Engineers in Nigeria
*1Ewuim, Sylvanus C, 1Akunne, Chidi E, and 2Faniran, Olalekan, J.
1Department of Zoology Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka
2Department of Biological Sciences Wesley University of Science and Technology Ondo
*Corresponding author’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted on August 19, 2011
This paper examines the role of soil insects, (including their juveniles) as ecosystem engineers as complementary to the role of the rest of the soil fauna in the holistic ecosystem engineering process. Ecosystem engineers function either as allogenic engineers or as autogenic engineers. Apart from the role of humans which have been described as allogenic engineers parexcellence we explore the influence of the soil insects in relation to their activity and mechanical alteration of materials in the environment leading to modulation in the resource flow and eventual habitat modification. The important categories of soil insects are discussed as integral of the soil community and in relation to their overall impact in soil fertility, in addition to their constraints, peculiarities, and prospects in the realization of their maximum potentialities in ecosystem engineering in the Nigerian environment and elsewhere. Practical consideration and integration of the interests of ecosystem engineering into environmental engineering in Nigeria will lead to full harnessing and realization of the inherent potentialities in the functions and functioning of the allogenic engineers and indeed the entire ecosystems engineers in their peculiarly environment in order to arrest further impoverishment of the soils and agroecosystems.