Sub-continental-scale carbon stocks of individual trees in African drylands - Réseau télédétection INRAE Access content directly
Journal Articles Nature Year : 2023

Sub-continental-scale carbon stocks of individual trees in African drylands

Compton Tucker
Martin Brandt
Pierre Hiernaux
Ankit Kariryaa
Kjeld Rasmussen
  • Function : Author
Jennifer Small
  • Function : Author
Christian Igel
Florian Reiner
Katherine Melocik
Jesse Meyer
  • Function : Author
Scott Sinno
  • Function : Author
Eric Romero
Erin Glennie
  • Function : Author
Yasmin Fitts
  • Function : Author
August Morin
Jorge Pinzon
  • Function : Author
Devin Mcclain
  • Function : Author
Paul Morin
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1118720
Claire Porter
  • Function : Author
Shane Loeffler
  • Function : Author
Bil-Assanou Issoufou
  • Function : Author
Patrice Savadogo
  • Function : Author
Benjamin Poulter
Robert Kaufmann
  • Function : Author
Ranga Myneni
  • Function : Author
Sassan Saatchi
  • Function : Author
Rasmus Fensholt


Abstract The distribution of dryland trees and their density, cover, size, mass and carbon content are not well known at sub-continental to continental scales 1–14 . This information is important for ecological protection, carbon accounting, climate mitigation and restoration efforts of dryland ecosystems 15–18 . We assessed more than 9.9 billion trees derived from more than 300,000 satellite images, covering semi-arid sub-Saharan Africa north of the Equator. We attributed wood, foliage and root carbon to every tree in the 0–1,000 mm year −1 rainfall zone by coupling field data 19 , machine learning 20–22 , satellite data and high-performance computing. Average carbon stocks of individual trees ranged from 0.54 Mg C ha −1 and 63 kg C tree −1 in the arid zone to 3.7 Mg C ha −1 and 98 kg tree −1 in the sub-humid zone. Overall, we estimated the total carbon for our study area to be 0.84 (±19.8%) Pg C. Comparisons with 14 previous TRENDY numerical simulation studies 23 for our area found that the density and carbon stocks of scattered trees have been underestimated by three models and overestimated by 11 models, respectively. This benchmarking can help understand the carbon cycle and address concerns about land degradation 24–29 . We make available a linked database of wood mass, foliage mass, root mass and carbon stock of each tree for scientists, policymakers, dryland-restoration practitioners and farmers, who can use it to estimate farmland tree carbon stocks from tablets or laptops.


Fichier principal
Vignette du fichier
s41586-022-05653-6.pdf (12.54 Mo) Télécharger le fichier
Origin Publisher files allowed on an open archive

Dates and versions

hal-04029742 , version 1 (15-03-2023)



Compton Tucker, Martin Brandt, Pierre Hiernaux, Ankit Kariryaa, Kjeld Rasmussen, et al.. Sub-continental-scale carbon stocks of individual trees in African drylands. Nature, 2023, 615 (7950), pp.80 - 86. ⟨10.1038/s41586-022-05653-6⟩. ⟨hal-04029742⟩
48 View
8 Download



Gmail Mastodon Facebook X LinkedIn More