Zero-till farming

Zero-till farming, also known as no-till or conservation tillage farming, is a way of growing crops from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage. Tillage collapses the pores and tunnels that were constructed by soil animals, and changes the water holding, gas, and nutrient exchange capacities of the soil. Reduced tillage, and especially no-tillage, decreases soil disturbance, increases organic matter content, improves soil structure, buffers soil temperatures, and allows soil to catch and hold more melt and rain water. No-tillage soils are more biologically active and biologically diverse. They have higher nutrient loading capacities, release nutrients gradually and continuously, and have better soil structure than reduced or cultivated soils. These practices help farmers cope with alternating flood and drought conditions. Other farming practices that were also considered by researchers included: terrace farming and agro-forestry.

Climate Related Risk

Increased variability of crop yields, Reduction in crop yields, Drought

Form of Option


Country of Origin

Canada, India


Resource-dependent people (e.g. farmers, fishers, miners)


The option exists in a real setting and was not created as part of the project.

Institution / Legal Reach

Change in norms or ways of doing things