Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the north-east. It is connected to Zambia across the short Zambezi River border by the Kazungula Bridge.
Botswana has diverse areas of wildlife habitat. In addition to the delta and desert areas, there are grasslands and savannas, where blue wildebeest, antelopes, and other mammals and birds are found. Northern Botswana has one of the few remaining large populations of the endangered African wild dog. Chobe National Park, found in the Chobe District, has the world's largest concentration of African elephants. The park covers about 11,000 km2 and supports about 350 species of birds.
The Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve are major tourist destinations. Other reserves include the Central Kalahari Game Reserve located in the Kalahari Desert in Ghanzi District; Makgadikgadi Pans National Park and Nxai Pan National Park are in Central District in the Makgadikgadi Pan. Mashatu Game Reserve is privately owned, located at the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo Rivers in eastern Botswana. The other privately owned reserve is Mokolodi Nature Reserve near Gaborone. There are also specialised sanctuaries like Khama Rhino Sanctuary and Makgadikgadi Sanctuary, They are both located in Central District.
Botswana faces two major environmental problems, drought and desertification, which are heavily linked. Three-quarters of the country's human and animal populations depend on groundwater due to drought. Groundwater use through deep borehole drilling has somewhat eased the effects of drought. Surface water is scarce in Botswana and less than 5% of the agriculture in the country is sustainable by rainfall. In the remaining 95% of the country, raising livestock is the primary source of rural income. Approximately 71% of the country's land is used for communal grazing, which has been a major cause of the desertification and the accelerating soil erosion of the country.
Since raising livestock has been profitable for the people of Botswana, they continue to exploit the land with dramatically increasing numbers of animals. From 1966 to 1991, the livestock population grew from 1.7 million to 5.5 million.: 64 Similarly, the human population has increased from 574,000 in 1971 to 1.5 million in 1995, a 161% increase in 24 years. 'Over 50% of all households in Botswana own cattle, which is currently the largest single source of rural income.' 'Rangeland degradation or desertification is regarded as the reduction in land productivity as a result of overstocking and overgrazing, or as a result of veld product gathering for commercial use. Degradation is exacerbated by the effects of drought and climate change.'
Environmentalists report that the Okavango Delta is drying up due to the increased grazing of livestock. The Okavango Delta is one of the major semi-forested wetlands in Botswana and one of the largest inland deltas in the world; it is a crucial ecosystem to the survival of many animals.
The country had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 9.13/10, ranking it 8th globally out of 172 countries.