Protected Areas


 Areas Protected


Terrestrial and Inland Water



Area protected, as per WDPA

Area protected, as per country reports

Coastal and Marine Coverage

Not Applicable

Area protected or conserved,
as per WDPA

Key species

Botswana has a high biodiversity, especially in and around the Okavango Delta with a species richness index between 9.3 and 15. Plant species are estimated at between 2,150 and 3,000, of which 15 are endemic and 43 on the IUCN Red List. Botswana is home to 587 species of birds. There are 25 globally threatened bird species in Botswana and a further eight regarded as national threatened and two near- endemic species.

Pressures and Threats

The primary threat to biodiversity in Botswana is habitat loss and degradation. The indirect causes of these threats include: overgrazing through unregulated cattle grazing; range degradation; fires; mining; wind erosion; increased water extraction for irrigation resulting in increased salinity; lack of protection for avian breeding sites; uncontrolled tourism; and disruption of migration routes through fencing. Poaching for wildlife products and bushmeat is another serious threat to the biodiversity of the country. Human-wildlife conflict is a critical and ongoing issue in the country.

Botswana has 22 protected areas covering 169,370 km2 of land (UNEP-WCMC & IUCN, 2019c). Within Botswana, land use is divided up into Protected Areas, Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), Pastoral Residential Areas, Farms and Mining Concessions. As Botswana is a large country with a low population, it has been possible to establish expansive protected areas with over 45% of the country under some form of environmental management. 

Protected and conserved areas designated as global sites of importance

Global designation

Number of sites

UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves


UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Natural or Mixed)


Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites)


 Source ((Ramsar, 2019; UNESCO, 2019a, 2019b)


Priority areas for conservation


Number of sites

Alliance for Zero Extinction sites


Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas


Key Biodiversity Areas


 (AZE Secretariat, 2019; BirdLife International, 2019c, 2019a)

Regional Reference Information System Botswana

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