Although soil is not a living organism, it is alive. It is alive with millions of organisms which turn it into earths food producing organ. These organisms interact with the air, water, inert elements in the soil, each other and with the higher plants which stretch their roots into the soil in search of water and nutrients. The bacteria, fungi, algae, worms and others all work together to produce top soil. When these organisms are killed and not allowed to reproduce themselves, the top soil suffers and under extreme circumstances can even be killed
Many agricultural practices can have a deliterious effect on the health of the soil. Some of these are deep tillage, burning off the plant material and the application of high concentrations of inorganic fertilizer.
The Mayan method of cropping creates an environment that allows these organisms to thrive and to produce healthy soil.