South African Carbon Sinks Atlas

Technical Reports

Summary for Policy Makers: 2020 South African National Carbon Sinks Assessment

The 2020 National Terrestrial Carbon Sinks Assessment updates and improves on the original 2014 NTCSA in two important ways. Firstly, it is uses updated and improved datasets on which the assessment is based, and secondly it runs the assessment for three time periods, 1990, 2014 and 2018 allowing for the assessment of rates of change over these periods. A detailed technical report for both the NTCSA 2020 and NTCSA 2014 provide details on methodology and findings and should be consulted in conjunction with this summary report when more detail is required.

Technical Report: 2020 South African National Carbon Sinks Assessment

The National Terrestrial Carbon Sinks Assessment 2020 (NTCSA 2020) updates the NTCSA 2014. It includes a number of improvements in core datasets and methodology. This document is a technical report on the project which gives extensive background and the details of running the models involved.

Summary Report: 2014 South African National Carbon Sinks Assessment

The National Terrestrial Carbon Sinks Assessment (NTCSA) is a first of its kind for South Africa and was commissioned following a directive from the National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP). Given this, the aim was to assess the national carbon sinks in relation to afforestation, forest restoration, wetlands, agricultural practices and urban greening. Furthermore, to assess all significant land use change and quantify the potential future carbon stocks under varying climate change and land use scenarios.

Full Report: 2014 South African National Carbon Sinks Assessment

Global change through land use and cover change, climate change and the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has modified the structure and function of many ecosystems throughout the world. Such changes across the globe have over the years altered the relationship between the natural sources and sinks of carbon dioxide. Similarly, in South Africa, land use change and land degradation as a result of conversion to croplands, urban areas, mines and roads has modified the original geographical extent of vegetation biomes

Guideline on Interpreting Data in the South African Carbon Sinks Atlas

This document gives simple supplementary information to assist readers in understanding the issues around options for carbon sequestration and emissions from the LULUC sector.

Strategic Plan, Measurement, Reporting and Verification. AFOLU Sector: 2016-2020

The long-term strategic objective for the development and implementation of the AFOLU sector MRV system is to enhance South Africa’s capacity to transparently monitor and report emissions from land use and the impact of mitigation actions.

Climate Change Adaptation Plans for South African Biomes

In responding to the impact of climate change on biodiversity as required by the National Climate Change Response Policy, the Department of Environment Affairs coordinated a national process, with participation from provincial, local government and civil society, to develop Climate Change Adaptation Plans for South African Biomes. The biome adaptation planning process has now culminated in the production of this report. This report includes a review and prioritization of the most significant potential climate change risks and vulnerabilities for each of the 9 biomes and an identification of potential adaptation responses measures.

Assessment of the Potential to Produce Biochar and Its Application to South African Soils as a Mitigation Measure

Assessment of the potential to produce biochar and its application to South African soils as a mitigation measure. Biochar is gradually gaining interest globally as a climate change mitigation measure in the agriculture forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector


  • Mararakanye, N. and Le Roux, J.J., 2011. Manual digitising of gully erosion in South Africa using high resolution SPOT 5 satellite imagery at 1: 10 000 scale. Download.

  • Martens, C., Hickler, T., Davis‐Reddy, C., Engelbrecht, F., Higgins, S.I., von Maltitz, G.P., Midgley, G.F., Pfeiffer, M. and Scheiter, S., 2021. Large uncertainties in future biome changes in Africa call for flexible climate adaptation strategies. Global Change Biology, 27(2), pp.340-358. Download.

  • Moncrieff, G.R., Bond, W.J. and Higgins, S.I., 2016. Revising the biome concept for understanding and predicting global change impacts. Journal of Biogeography, 43(5), pp.863-873. Download.

  • Moncrieff, G.R., Scheiter, S., Slingsby, J.A. and Higgins, S.I., 2015. Understanding global change impacts on South African biomes using Dynamic Vegetation Models. South African Journal of Botany, 101, pp.16-23. Download.

  • Scheiter, S. and Higgins, S.I., 2009. Impacts of climate change on the vegetation of Africa: an adaptive dynamic vegetation modelling approach. Global Change Biology, 15(9), pp.2224-2246. Download.