Brandon Smith (Redwoodtwig)
Almost every intervention made by humans to a natural landscape involves digging at some point. Whether you use a sharpened stick or a bulldozer for the digging depends on the kind of intervention you want to make.
There's a good reason why the plow is so important to human history -- turning over the soil does bring about a speed up in some of the soil micro-organism activity and makes the application of fertilizer, organic or chemical, more effective. In the short term.
Digging with respect is difficult whenever there are roots or rocks involved, but with some forethought, one can make fairly massive changes that improve a plant community home. A pond is a good example, as are contour line swales.