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.