South African Carbon Sinks Atlas

Data for South African National Greenhouse Gas Inventory and the Climate Change Mitigation System for the Agriculture, Forestry and other Land Use (AFOLU) sector

The Carbon Sinks Atlas is a web-based data and information tool aimed at providing the spatial distribution of carbon stocks and fluxes across South Africa. Understanding drivers and how carbon stocks have changed historically and may do in future, is pivotal to understanding the opportunities for REDD+ and other key principal climate change mitigation opportunities and avoided rangeland degradation programmes, and thus to quantify the potential and develop the required reference levels to track progress towards sectoral climate change mitigation targets, the NDC.

Key Findings

  • Most of South Africa's organic carbon is to be found in the Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) pool, which accounts for over 75% of all terrestrial organic carbon.

  • It is the grasslands and savanna systems which contain the largest share of this carbon, accounting for approximately 1/3 of the national total carbon stock each.

  • Deserts, due to their aridity and small spatial area, have the smallest carbon stock of all biomes, with forests and azonal vegetation, both having only about 1% of terrestrial carbon stocks each.

  • In South Africa there is very limited carbon stock change as a consequence of land cover change, with the large change being observed between 2014 and 2018 being a consequence of changes in land cover measurements rather than actual “on-the-ground” change. In particular the addition of a new fallow land cover class is responsible for most of the observed change.

Explore Data

Improvements to the previous version include:

Revised Model Runs

Updated carbon stocks maps and baseline datasets at 1x1km resolution including newly available soil organic carbon datasets. Approximately 100 new datasets are now available.

Improved Search & Discovery

Updated functionality and usability of the Carbon Sinks Atlas user interface and updated search and discovery of data with functionality for faster and more advanced data queries.

QGIS Plugin

Download data directly in your QGIS desktop application using our new plugin and use the algorithm builder interface to configure and run the carbon sinks model.