Sampling event

Earthworms and potworms in Dutch soils from the National Biological Soil Monitoring project 1997-2014

Latest version published by National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) on 14 December 2023 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)

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Data as a DwC-A file download 1,179 records in Dutch (2 MB) - Update frequency: unknown
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Metadata as an RTF file download in English (9 KB)


In the Netherlands, soil biological measurements were carried out in a nationwide monitoring program between 1997 and 2014. The purpose was to complement the obligations of the Biodiversity treaty of Rio de Janeiro (1992), by measuring soil biodiversity in a functional context. In total circa 450 locations were selected in a random stratified design, comprising 12 dominant combinations of land use and soil type. In The Netherlands 60 to 70% of the soils are in agricultural use, which is reflected in the distribution of the data. The 12 categories were sampled in a six-year cycle. Only 2 cycles could be completed entirely. The monitoring network was designed to give a cross-section through the soil ecosystem, from microbes to earthworms. Moreover, soil physical and chemical characteristics were measured. The sampling strategy was unorthodox, because the entire farm area was considered to be the unit of sampling.

In this dataset the average values out of six subsamples is given per square metre for: abundances, taxonomic diversity and biomass of earthworms (Lumbricidae) and potworms (Enchytraeidae). Eatrhworms were counted in 6 soil blocks of 20x20x20 cm. Potworms in 6 soil cores, 15 cm deep and 6 cm in diameter. In addition to the national monitoring program, data are available from (smaller) experimental fields. A general description of the monitoring program and methods is pubished in Rutgers et al. 2009 (European Journal of Soil Science, 60, 820-832. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2389.2009.01163.x)

Data Records

The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 1,179 records.

3 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

Event (core)

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.


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The publisher and rights holder of this work is National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC-BY-NC 4.0) License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 5ba29440-cdb5-4c7c-b98e-1b9adfc75173.  National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Netherlands Biodiversity Information Facility.


Samplingevent; Earthworms; Potworms; Lumbricidae; Enchytraeidae; soil biodiversity; ecosystem functions; farming systems; The Netherlands


Ton Schouten
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
Senior Scientist Soil Ecology
National Institute for Public health and the Environment (RIVM)
Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9
NL-3721 MA Bilthoven
Michiel Rutgers
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Senior Scientist at Centre for Sustainability, Environment and Health (DMG)
National Institute for Public health and the Environment (RIVM)
Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9
NL-3721 MA Bilthoven
Harm Keidel
  • Originator
Senior Scientist Soil Biology
LIOS Biological soil consultancy
Corridor 20
NL-3893 BD Zeewolde
Ron de Goede
  • Originator
Senior Scientist Soil Biology
Wageningen University and Research (WUR)
Droevendaalsesteeg 3
NL-6708 PB Wageningen
Jeroen Creuwels
  • Originator
Data manager
PO Box 9517
NL-2300 RA Leiden

Geographic Coverage

The Netherlands and Belgium

Bounding Coordinates South West [50.761, 3.407], North East [53.415, 7.184]

Taxonomic Coverage

Species of earthworms and potworms in Dutch soils

Family Lumbricidae (earthworms), Enchytraeidae (potworms)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1997-05-01 / 2014-04-15

Project Data

The Biological Indicator for Soil Quality (BISQ) is a multidisciplinary project in a cooporation of several research insitutes. The main object of the project is to develop quality standards for functional diversity of soil organisms outside protected area’s, to fill in the gaps in knowledge in the functional aspects of biodiversity. Because (systematically collected) historical data are missing and complete references for soil ecosystems are absent, a biomonitoring programme has been started within the abiotic Dutch Soil Quality Network. It consists of 10 categories of land use and soil type, each with 20 replica’s, resulting in 200 locations. The abiotic network has a cycle of 5 years, with 40 locations sampled and analysed each year. Additionally organic (biological) farming has been chosen as a reference, assuming that it provides a more sustainable form of agriculture. In principle each land use category is complemented with 10 organic farms. Biological indicators are derived from a soil food web approach. They link biodiversity with ecological processes like (potential) mineralisation of carbon and nitrogen, soil formation and stability.

Title Dutch Soil Quality Network
Identifier Project M/607604
Funding Ministery of Infrastructure and Water management, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food quality.
Study Area Description Major land-use types in The Netherlands.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. M. Rutgers, A. J. Schouten, J. Bloem, N. Van Eekeren, R. G. M. De Goede, G. A. J. M. Jagers op Akkerhuis, A. Van der Wal, C. Mulder, L. Brussaard, A. M. Breure (2009) Biological measurements in a nationwide soil monitoring network. European Journal of Soil Science 60 (5): 820-832.

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers 5ba29440-cdb5-4c7c-b98e-1b9adfc75173