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Biomimicry of termite engineering as solution for water and soil conservation
ICE 2008, XXIII International Congress of Entomology, Durban July 2008 (2008)
  • Amgad ELMAHDI
  • Haidi Badawi
Abstract

The aim of this study is to present humanity and termites as design partners in the creation of a new dimension of human understanding. This understanding is based upon the likelihood that termites have developed optimal architecture and design for water and soil conservation in ecosystems over millions of years. In this biomimicry study the objective is to apply and perfect termite system designs for better water and soil management by government, industry and the public. Termites create structures that regulate and maintain near-constant moisture and temperature. Termites also create self-regulating energy systems that need no mechanical power for cooling and/or heating. In tropical climates, termites improve soil structure and moisture holding capacity and conserve water according to changing environmental conditions. Can our water and soil management systems mimic termite management styles? This study also focuses on using termites’ techniques to improve soil physical characteristics. Termites play an important role in rehabilitating degraded ecosystems and widening soil microbial diversity. Accessing water sources from underground and the burrowing and feeding activities of termites can slow and reverse land degradation. In addition, termites have the potential to improve the structure of crusted soils, including their capacity to limit soil compaction, increase soil porosity and improve the water infiltration and retention capacities of soils. Such conditions encourage root penetration, vegetative diversity, and restores primary productivity; all preconditions for food and prosperity security in Australia. The role of termites in organic matter decomposition and water conservation is well recognized. However, few studies have examined the behavioral and ecological approach of termites in relation to water and soil conservation. Sustainable water and soil management is a key to every society’s survival and development. Degraded soil structure and surface sealing of soils impede water infiltration and plant root growth, limiting the usefulness of local lands for crop and animal production.

Keywords
  • Biomimicry,
  • Soil degradation and conversation,
  • management,
  • Termites,
  • natural rehabilitations,
  • Water infiltration and Ecosystem approach
Publication Date
2008
Citation Information
Amgad ELMAHDI and Haidi Badawi. "Biomimicry of termite engineering as solution for water and soil conservation" ICE 2008, XXIII International Congress of Entomology, Durban July 2008 (2008)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/amgad_elmahdi/11/