SHAMBA Methodology

The SHAMBA methodology provides an approach for estimating the climate change mitigation potential of changing smallholder agricultural practices. The methodology makes use of the RothC model for estimating changes in soil carbon stocks that result from implementation of climate smart agriculture practices, and modules developed by the IPCC for non-CO2 greenhouse gases.

Plan Vivo Approved

The SHAMBA methodology has been approved by the Plan Vivo Standard and is currently being used in Plan Vivo projects. The SHAMBA approach uses the methodology described above, and includes default parameters suitable for use by projects in the tropics. Below is the Approved Approach for using SHAMBA in Plan Vivo projects, and an example of it’s use in practice.

Used in practice and in research

SHAMBA has been used in practice to help implement a range of land use emission mitigation projects in tropical areas (see above). SHAMBA has also been used to conduct peer-reviewed academic research on greenhouse gas impacts and monitoring.

Free download of SHAMBA Tool v1.1

The SHAMBA Tool v1.1 accompanies the SHAMBA approach. It is a free computer package available under a University of Edinburgh Open Technology licence. The computer package can be used in two ways: 1) through a user-friendly interface; and 2) through running the computer code in conjunction with an Excel-based questionnaire.

The user-friendly interface enables users with minimal technical expertise to develop estimates of climate benefits from changes to smallholder agricultural practices in line with the greenhouse gas accounting requirements of the Plan Vivo Standard. The computer code and Excel-based questionnaire allows for more advanced analyses, can be freely developed by users, and can be integrated with other pieces of software.

A variety of people are using the computer code to develop their own versions of SHAMBA. We have created a SHAMBA GitHub repository and encourage people to add their own versions of SHAMBA as branches to the repository. This will enable the SHAMBA community to continue to learn from each other.

Future developments

The next phase of SHAMBA development is to see it integrated into existing and new greenhouse gas accounting technologies and processes. It is available to be used in existing projects, and developed further as part of any new projects or proposals.

For Plan Vivo, the aim is to produce a web-based version of the SHAMBA Tool and a web-interface that allows Plan Vivo projects to record and display the estimates of climate benefits from their activities.

We also hope to develop more Plan Vivo Approved Approaches that use the SHAMBA methodology to estimate climate benefits from other geographical regions and land use practices, as well as reporting metrics describing impacts on resilience and yields.

Need help?

There is a community of researchers and practitioners available to provide advice on the SHAMBA methodology and model, as well as assistance in developing projects that use the SHAMBA methodology or Plan Vivo Approved Approach. For more information please email