Healthy soil has millions of living organisms (like earthworms, insects, bacteria, and fungi) which serve as decomposers. In fact, “One teaspoon of soil can hold between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria and other organisms” (NACD). The decomposers break down dead plants and animals into simple chemicals that are released into the soil. Some of these chemicals help new plants to grow.
More organic matter in the soil allows water to be absorbed more easily and quickly. In Taos where water is scarce, water absorbtion is important for soils to withstand long periods of drought.