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South Africa

Last Updated
June 2023
7.6 %
Forest cover
3.6 Mha
Committed to restore by 2030
South Africa

Asivhanzhi Makhale
AFR100 Focal Point for South Africa

Projects in South Africa

Our Approach


Steps to Success

Stakeholder involvement

Relevant stakeholder groups are involved in the LDN target setting process through the LDN national working groups in order to ensure ownership and evaluate trade-offs early on in the planning process and implementation. In South Africa, the LDN working group was established and it is composed of Government Ministries/Department, research institutions, NGOS and Civil Society Organizations as well as private sector. The LDN working group inform policies and decision-making process and pave the way for implementation of the targets and ongoing policy related initiatives.

A coordinating mechanism/platform

LDN Target(s) are integrated into existing environmental, agricultural, infrastructure and overall development policies and plans, including UNCCD NAPs, NDCs, SDG and restoration targets. Most importantly, LDN targets should become an essential component of integrated land-use planning. The Land restoration cross-sectorial task force was established to bring together all the relevant institutions for coordination of stakeholders and monitoring of the key milestones or restoration activities. The proposed time horizon for the achievement of LDN targets is the year 2030 in order to align to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. All targets set should be measurable according to the LDN indicator framework endorsed at national and global levels. All targets should be validated by the national LDN working groups and endorsed by the Government at the highest possible level which allows their effective implementation.   

Capacity building

Capacity building is a key element of achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN). The creation and sharing of knowledge, skills, and techniques are instrumental for effective implementation of the set targets.  From the beginning of the target setting process, LDN working group identified the lack of capacity as a major stumbling block to effectively implement the Convention. Over the working group has called for the development and strengthening of capacity – in particular at the grassroots level. The LDN has adopted many decisions concerning capacity building, and Strategy emphasizes capacity building as a key operational objective. 


Establishment of LDN Target(s) is foremost a political process that utilizes the best available knowledge, including the LDN baseline, to set ambitious and aspirational yet realistic targets. It means defining broad, yet clear, time-bound and measurable objectives on what a country wants to achieve in terms of halting and reversing land degradation and restoring degraded lands through a wide range of possible measures. High level commitments require effective collaboration and partnership to achieve the plans and target milestones. South Africa set LDN targets at national scale with ambition to reach LDN for the entire country taking into account all LDN indicators and stakeholders. 

Key Milestones

  • South Africa committed to restore 3.6 million hectares by 2030

  • Improve productivity and SOC stocks in 6,000,000 hectares of cropland by 2030 

  • Rehabilitate and sustainably manage 1,809,767 hectares of “forest”2 by 2030 

  • Rehabilitate and sustainably manage 1,349,714 ha of fynbos by 2030 

  • Rehabilitate and sustainably manage 87,621 ha of thicket by 2030 

  • Rehabilitate and sustainably manage 2,436,170 ha of grassland by 2030 

  • Rehabilitate and sustainably manage 2,646,069 ha of savanna (< 5m) by 2030

  • Rehabilitate and sustainably manage 149,877 ha of Succulent Karoo by 2030 

  • Rehabilitate and sustainably manage 528,632 ha of Nama Karoo by 2030 

  • Rehabilitate and sustainably manage 76,525 ha of desert by 2030

  • Rehabilitate 61,900 ha of wetlands by 2030, 

  • Clear 1,063,897 ha of alien invasive species by 2030 

  • Clear 633,702 ha of bush encroached land by 2030, and 

  • Rehabilitate 350,000 ha of artificial areas by 2030.


Our Vision


Through the LDN target(s), South Africa aims to achieve a balance between anticipated land degradation (losses) and planned positive actions (gains), in order to achieve, at least, a position of no net loss of healthy and productive land. Neutrality is the minimum objective.

Priority Interventions: 

  • Water retention and landscape stability (erosion, combating desertification)
  • Clearing sparse and dense stands of invasive plants and bush encroachment
  • Re-vegetation
  • Soil and donga rehabilitation and restoration
  • Additional interventions to be determined through restoration opportunity assessments

Alignment with domestic targets: 

  • 2030 Sustainable Development Goals
  • Land Degradation Neutrality target
  • Environmental programmes under the auspices of Expanded Public Works Programme
  • Example; Working for Ecosystems, Working for Water, Working for Land, Working for Wetlands, Working on Fire, Landcare and National Forestry programme.
  • Requested assistance from AFR100: 
  • Both technical and financial support is required.
  • Funding to implement transformative projects and programs
  • Support for workshops and institutional arrangements to implement the AFR100
  • Development/establishment of restoration targets
  • Identifying other means of financial mechanisms/resources aimed at scaling up investment in landscape restoration
  • Skills development and knowledge sharing
  • Program and project investments
  • Science and technology innovations (funding to conduct research)
Agroforestry practices
Rangeland Restoration
Rangeland Restoration
Watch the video

Rangeland Restoration in South Africa

Livestock farming is a compatible land-use for biodiversity conservation, and when livestock lands are well-managed, the rangelands perform crucial water catchment and soil retention services that are essential for the broader South African population


1 Resource
in South Africa

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Resource Centre
View website