outh Africa is counting on its tree cover to act as a protected carbon sink that will further drop emissions accelerating climate change.
The policy move is in line with international climate commitments and a 2018 warning from leading scientists that forests are a major requisite in the global fight against catastrophic climate change, thanks to their unparalleled capacity to absorb and store carbon.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that stopping deforestation and restoring damaged forests could provide up to 30% of the climate solution.
Boost to mitigation efforts
South Africa’s land cover is dominated by open ecosystems in the form of shrublands (covering just less than 40% of the total land area), savanna woodlands (33%) and grasslands (27%).
Both indigenous and exotic forest plantations make up the remainder, with indigenous forests occupying less than 0.3% of South Africa’s land area, according to GeoTerraImage, while exotic forest plantations occupy about 1% of the overall area.