Over the past thirty years, an interdisciplinary approach has brought together knowledge and discoveries from scientific fields such as biochemistry, microbiology, botany, ecology, and other life sciences, to benefit agriculture. This collective effort has given rise to a specialized field that focuses on studying soil ecosystems, and especially how soil, plants, and microorganisms interact and influence soil fertility cycles. 

This applied science has provided valuable insights for agriculture, demonstrating how through the implementation of appropriate agricultural practices, we can replicate natural fertility processes in our agricultural systems. 

And proving that emulating nature’s processes in farming yields a profusion of benefits.

Modern agronomy largely neglects the vital role of biology in agricultural systems, relying heavily on synthetic inputs and physical force. However, in natural ecosystems, biology is central to soil fertility. Living (and no longer living) organisms actively enhance the soil’s chemical and physical properties, creating conditions that benefit plants and the ecosystem as a whole.

If the physical aspect of soil involves its structure and its ability to infiltrate water and air, and provide an adequate medium or habitat for plants; and if the chemical aspect includes pH, cation exchange capacity, redox potential (Eh), etc., and the soil’s effectiveness to provide nutrients in a plant-available form. Then biology is everything else in between. Without biology, agriculture is like a stool with two legs, missing the essential support for plant growth and nutrient cycling.

Farmers who have chosen to start viewing their fields as ecosystems and adjusted their agricultural practices to harnessaturally occurring processes are reporting a range of benefits. These include reduced time, lower costs, simplified decision-making, improved plant response, and a significant enhancement in soil fertility.

Biological processes, powered by the sun, water, air, and soil minerals, and driven by the carbon, nitrogen, and hydrological cycles, operate continuously and independently. These processes naturally enhance soil fertility day and night, throughout the seasons, without human intervention or additional inputs.

In the natural system, there is no waste – no fertilizer leaching, soil erosion, or water runoff. Everything is recycled and retained. Once something has served its purpose, it decomposes and becomes available for the next generation of plants and organisms. They efficiently use the energy and available resources in their surroundings. This natural process minimizes waste, and when applied in an agricultural context optimizes resource utilization.

Health and balance in the natural system are upheld by species diversity and predator/prey dynamics. This means that the harmful effects of pests and pathogens are countered because beneficial organisms play a dominant role. Pest and disease outbreaks happen when pathogenic or non-beneficial organisms multiply unchecked due to the absence of natural predators or competitors. Additionally, substances, whether of human or natural origin, that are toxic to life, are quickly transformed or neutralized through biological mechanisms into harmless materials. 

Natural ecosystems are more vibrant, as they are untouched by machinery or chemicals, most of the nergy they contain is used for growth. In contrast, conventionally cultivated land needs to divert energy to rebuild soil structure, neutralize toxins, and address other inbalances. 

Additionally, natural ecosystems exhibit greater resilience, quickly recovering from environmental stresses and restoring equilibrium as conditions change.

When we mimic nature and follow its principles, we create conditions for natural soil fertility processes to return to our farms. Over time, these processes can become so effective that they can surpass and replace many artificial inputs in agriculture, significantly increasing earnings.

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