/sustained_fertility_of_land

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Sustained fertility of the land seems to be the case. When nature is left all by itself, all kinds of shrubs and trees grow with a seemingly chaotic manner and we come to know that fertility of the land actually increases as time goes on. But when we clear that area and start farming on it, it seems as if our actions are constantly depleting the fertility and we have to put efforts to replenish it from outside sources - organic or inorganic.

In a natural environment, all the dead organic matter, in the form of dead leaves, branches, the whole plant itself falls on the surface of the soil while the next succession of plants are growing. This layer of organic matter acts as an buffer which protects the soil from erosion from wind and rain. Also, the dark organic layer is a good habitat for all sorts of life including insects, worms, fungi, and bacteria. The roots of the dead plants help feed the critters living inside the soil as they decompose. This makes the soil structure extremely porous and fertile and helps the next succession of plants to grow healthily. The deep rooted shrubs and trees also help in dissolving the harder layers deep in the soil and bring the minerals to the surface.

One could say all these interconnected processes are actually mining the earth while somehow mysteriously making it more richer at the same time. The trees really are great in this regard. These interconnected processes really seem to be working together in harmony which our limited intellect can never grasp. All one can do is appreciate the beauty and mystery of it.

In farming scenario, if all the agricultural residue - in form of dead plant matter and also other forms are returned to the field after harvest, and it is ensured that no_till is practiced, then there is a real possibility of sustaining (and even increasing) the fertility of the land.