Spatial variation in tree density and estimated aboveground carbon stocks in Southern Africa | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
March 2016
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
7(3): 57
License of the resource: 

Variability in woody plant species, vegetation assemblages and anthropogenic activities derails the efforts to have common approaches for estimating biomass and carbon stocks in Africa. In order to suggest management options, it is important to understand the vegetation dynamics and the major drivers governing the observed conditions. This study uses data from 29 sentinel landscapes (4640 plots) across the southern Africa. We used T-Square distance method to sample trees. Allometric models were used to estimate aboveground tree biomass from which aboveground biomass carbon stock (AGBCS) was derived for each site. Results show average tree density of 502 trees•ha?1 with semi-arid areas having the highest (682 trees•ha?1) and arid regions the lowest (393 trees•ha?1). The overall AGBCS was 56.4 Mg•ha?1. However, significant site to site variability existed across the region. Over 60 fold differences were noted between the lowest AGBCS (2.2 Mg•ha?1) in the Musungwa plains of Zambia and the highest (138.1 Mg•ha?1) in the scrublands of Kenilworth in Zimbabwe. Semi-arid and humid sites had higher carbon stocks than sites in sub-humid and arid regions. Anthropogenic activities also influenced the observed carbon stocks. Repeated measurements would reveal future trends in tree cover and carbon stocks across different systems

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Mponela, Powell
Sileshi, Gudeta W.
Chen, Jiehua
Tondoh, Jérôme E.
Tamene, Lulseged

Corporate Author(s): 


To reduce hunger and poverty, and improve human nutrition in the tropics through research aimed at increasing the eco-efficiency of agriculture.


CIAT’s staff includes about 200 scientists. Supported by a wide array of donors, the Center collaborates with hundreds of partners to conduct high-quality research and translate the results into development impact. A Board of Trustees provides oversight of CIAT’s research and financial management.


Columbia University is one of the world's most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions.

Data provider


CGIAR is the only worldwide partnership addressing agricultural research for development, whose work contributes to the global effort to tackle poverty, hunger and major nutrition imbalances, and environmental degradation.

Share this page