Figure 9.17 | Widespread changes to African vegetation have been reported, especially increasing woody plant cover in many savannas and grasslands, with 37% of these changes proposed to be driven by human-caused climate change and increased CO2 (a). The warming of lakes and rivers has been detected across Africa and is attributed to climate change. Data on vegetation change was gathered from 156 studies published between 1989 and 2021(b). Climatic changes, mostly associated with changes in rainfall, are enhancing grass production in arid grasslands and savannas, and causing grass expansion into semi-desert regions with notable increases in the Sahel and southern Africa. Tropical forest expansion into mesic savannas is occurring on the fringes of the central African tropical forest. Interactions between land use, climate change and increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are causing a widespread increase in woody plant cover encroachment in tropical savannas and grasslands. Some tree death and woody cover decline associated with climate and land use change have also been recorded across biomes. Of the reported changes to terrestrial vegetation, 24% were explicitly linked to climate change and a further 13% were proposed to be driven by climate change. In 48% of studies, no climate driver was mentioned and in 15% climate change was ruled out as the driver of change. Annual surface water temperatures in African lakes have warmed at a rate of 0.05°C–0.76°C per decade. Both satellite-based measures spanning 1985–2011 and in situ measurements spanning 1927–2014 agree on this warming trend. Other surface waters across Africa warmed from 1979–2018 at a rate of between 0.05°C and 0.5°C per decade (Woolway and Maberly, 2020). Vegetation change data were taken from a larger, global literature survey of existing databases supplemented with newer studies documenting changes in tree, shrub and grass cover linked to climate and land use change in natural and semi-natural areas (for further details see Section 220.127.116.11; Table SM2.1; Table SM9.2 for Africa vegetation change data and Table SM9.3 for studies reporting lake warming data).