Climate Change

New guide on soil carbon in Africa – the impacts of land use and agricultural practices


Africa’s soils are as diverse and varied as the knowledge of the communities that farm them. Different management strategies are used to enhance the carbon storage capacity of soils, and their adaptation to climate change. 

'Carbone des sols en Afrique. Impacts des usages des sols et des pratiques agricoles' (in English ‘Soil Carbon in Africa: Impacts of land use and agricultural practices’), is a new publication by FAO and the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), currently available in French, that brings together the work of 80 African and European researchers - ecologists, soil scientists, agronomists, geographers and foresters, all members of the Soil carbon network for custainable agriculture in Africa (CASA). 

Targeting researchers and development actors interested in the role of soil organic carbon, the publication presents an inventory of African soils. It documents soil usage and carbon storage capacities according to soil types, gives recommendations on collecting and interpreting soil data, and presents different options to conserve and increase carbon stocks in soils. 

Why soil carbon is important?

Soils are an essential resource which need preserving, to produce food, fiber and biomass, for water filtration, the preservation of biodiversity and carbon storage. When managed sustainably, soils can play an important role in climate change mitigation by storing carbon (carbon sequestration) and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. Soil health is fundamental in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Zero hunger, Climate action, Life on land, Responsible consumption and production and No poverty.

FAO's Global Soil Partnership

The publication resonates with FAO’s work under the Global Soil Partnership (GSP)  which aims to improve the governance and promote sustainable management and use of soils. The GSP has become an important partnership where global soil issues are discussed and addressed by multiple stakeholders. The interactive, responsive and voluntary partnership is open to governments, regional organizations, institutions and other stakeholders at various levels.

Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture

Carbone des sols en Afriquecontributes to the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA). FAO supports the development and implementation of the KJWA, a decision that was adopted at the UN Climate Conference in 2017.  It represents a significant step forward in the negotiations on agriculture within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and emphasizes the importance of agriculture and food security in the climate change agenda. One of the six priority areas directly relates to soil: ‘Soil carbon, soil health and soil fertility under grassland and cropland as well as integrated systems, including water management’. 

For more information

Publication:Carbone des sols en Afrique. Impacts des usages des sols et des pratiques agricoles

Website:Global Soil Partnership