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Botswana - Main Details

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Botswana is made up of seven distinct eco-regions, of which four are vulnerable i.e. South African Bushveld (deforestation, overgrazing, range degradation and veldt fires), Zambezia Baikiaea Woodlands (cattle and overgrazing and change in vegetation communities), Zambezia Halophytics (mining, rangeland degradation, fires, wind erosion, fires, water extraction, fencing, increased salinity of surface water, decreased surface fresh water, overgrazing, lack of protection for critical avian breeding sites, uncontrolled tourism/ disturbance and wildlife conflicts) and Kalahari Acacia (increased cattle ranching, land transformation and degradation, fires, fences, climate change, poaching and invasive alien species). The status of the rest of the ecoregions is stable and intact. Although there has never been a comprehensive survey of plants in Botswana it is estimated that there are between 2,150 and 3,000 species of plants, of which 15 are endemic and 43 are Red Data species. Botswana has a rich and diverse mammalian fauna with 147 identified species of which 111 are Red Data species. There are three species of endangered fauna: the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), the elephant (although it is not endangered in Botswana) and the black-cheeked lovebird (Agapornis nigrigenis). According to the Botswana Bird Atlas there are 570 bird species found in Botswana. There is a total of 99 fish species and 34 amphibian species. Of the 131 reptile species, 3 are endemic and only the African rock python (Python sebae) is protected. Agro –biodiversity in Botswana is still rich in species at the traditional farm level. Of the 11 species of cattle, 50% are thought to be endemic, 2 of which are under severe threat because of crossbreeding and neglect.

There is still much missing in terms of available data, distribution of species, breeds and varieties. This lack of knowledge on diversity, status of some species and critical habitats seriously complicates the efforts of conservation and act as constraints to the conservation of biodiversity in the country.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

18.2% of the total land area of Botswana is protected either by National park, Game reserve or Forest Reserves. A further 23% falls under Wildlife Management Areas.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

In determining the conservation status of each of the ecoregions, several indicators and criteria were used to develop a priority rank amongst the different ecoregions. These were protection level, species richness, endemism, Red Data species and value to the nation.

Some of the national targets/priorities include: development of a comprehensive protected areas network to conserve ecosystems and species (taking Important Plant Areas and Important Bird Areas into consideration); development of effective ecosystem management practices, including a review of current national and regional land management systems; and the rehabilitation and restoration of degraded ecosystems and habitats.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

Water ecosystems are of particular interest to Botswana as they provide hydrological, ecological and climatic functions. Botswana, being a dry country with only 4% of its area covered by water ecosystems, has taken liberty to conserve and manage its waters sustainably. The main water ecosystem, the Okavango delta, is a designated Ramsar site and is protected under the convention. Protected areas are surrounded by Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) making it easy to expand into broader land. Planning structures recognize WMAs. Botswana has adopted and continues to adopt a number of policy frameworks on environment including management and governance of protected areas. These policy frameworks not only guide direct activities of various stakeholders in favor of conservation and protection, but also evaluate the effectiveness of existing methods, criteria and indicators used to manage and govern protected areas for better and improved methods and indicators. The Global 200 project identified two Global priority areas; the Zambezi flooded Savannas and the Central and Eastern Miombo woodlands. There are also a number of sites that have been described as important to Botswana, some of which have been categorized as National Heritage sites and are protected by law, although information on status and trends is not available. Birdlife International identified twelve sites as Important Bird Areas, six of which are covered by the protected areas system. No Important Plant Areas have been identified yet.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

Botswana has two main objectives with respect to indigenous knowledge, which are to establish an indigenous knowledge policy and to develop a national policy framework on indigenous knowledge with special provision for traditional medicine research and use.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme