The most cost-effective technology used in reducing soil erosion is considered to be contour-based cultivation. In India, contour ditches have helped to quadruple the survival chances of tree seedlings and quintuple their early growth in height. Deeply rooted, hedge-forming vetiver grass, planted in contour strips across hill slopes, slows water run-off dramatically, reduces erosion, and increases the moisture available for crop growth. Currently 90% of soil conservation efforts in India are based on such biological systems. Simple technologies involving rock bunds construction along contour lines for soil and moisture conservation have succeeded. OXFAM has promoted this technique among farmers to improve water harvesting in Burkina Faso. Bunded fields yield an average of 10% more than traditional fields in a normal year and, in drier years, almost 50% more.
In 1977, the Guatemalan government and USAID organized the Small Farmers Conservation Project in the country's highlands. Research developed and/or informed conservation activities. Contour planting, mulches, and bench terracing for steeper slopes were recommended. Positive results have been recorded. In 1993, UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Investment Centre helped develop a 28 million dollar project to promote among others soil conservation in Tunisia.