In conventional agriculture, the soil can become barren and lifeless. Chemical fertilizers are added to feed the plants directly, and the soil is simply treated as a medium which physically supports the plants. When no organic matter is added, many of the soil organisms die off and the soil becomes depleted, harming the long-term fertility of the land.
This is contrary to a natural ecosystem, such as a forest, where the soil is filled with life. Natural soil contains huge numbers of microorganisms that interact with each other, forming a soil food web. When organic material is added to the soil, the microorganisms and worms break down the material into a form that is accessible to the growing plants. This process creates a fertile environment and improves the soil structure.
Veganic agriculture works to imitate natural systems. Organic plant-based materials are added to the soil, such as vegetable compost, green manure, and leaves. As these materials are decomposed by the soil organisms, it builds up the soil and leads to long-term fertility.
One of the best regenerative techniques is building up soil quality using chipped branch wood, which are chips from small tree branches. This veganic technique leads to high quality and stable soils, similar to natural forests.