The Southern African Regional Science Initiative 2000 (SAFARI 2000) was a major surface, airborne and space-borne field campaign carried out in southern Africa in 2000 and 2001, that addressed a broad range of phenomena, related to land-atmosphere interactions and the biogeochemical functioning of the southern African system. This paper presents a thematic analysis and integration of the Journal of Geophysical Research SAFARI 2000 Special Issue, presenting key findings of an intensive field campaign over southern Africa in August and September of 2000. The integrating themes deal with surface emissions characterization; airborne characterizations of aerosols and trace gases; regional haze and trace gas charac-terization; and radiant measurements by surface, aircraft and remote sensing platforms. Enhanced regional fuel loads associated with the moist La Nia phase of the ENSO cycle produced above average biomass burning emissions, which consequently dominated all other aerosol and trace gas emissions during the dry season. Southward transport of a broad plume of smoke originating in equatorial Africa, and exiting off the east coast toward the Indian Ocean (the River of Smoke) is attributed to unusual synoptic airflows, associ-ated the ENSO phase. New and revised biogenic and pyrogenic emission factors are reported, including a number of previously unreported oxygenated organic compounds and inorganic compounds from biomass combustion. Emission factors are scaled up to regional emission surfaces for biogenic species utilizing spe-cies specific and light dependent emission factors. Fire scar estimates reveal contradictory information on the timing of the peak and extent of the biomass-burning season. Integrated tall stack coordinated meas-urements (between ground, airborne and remotely sensing platforms) of up- and downwelling radiation in massive, thick aerosol layers covering much of southern Africa yield consistent estimates of large negative forcing, for both surface and top of atmosphere radiative forcing. Radiation calculations are supported by novel information on chemical speciation and internal aerosol particle structure. The overall conclusion is that SAFARI 2000, as an integrating theme, has been able to give significant new insights into the regional scale biogeochemical cycling of southern Africa, and contributed in important ways to the validation of remote sensing instruments on board the NASA Terra spacecraft.