Much of the land used for raising crops or livestock is too arid or steep for these purposes, resulting in soil erosion. Drought contributes to Cape Verde's land problems along with cyclones, volcanic activity, and insect infestation. The intense demand for wood as fuel has led to the virtual elimination of native vegetation. By 1978, nearly all indigenous plants in farmed areas and within a half-day's walk of small villages had been removed. The land and water supply is adversely affected by insecticides, pesticides, and fertilization. In 2000, about 74% of the population had access to safe drinking water. A resource still almost untapped is an estimated 80–90 million cu m of underground water, but the investment required to exploit it would be very large in relation to Cape Verde's resources.
As of the mid-1990s, endangered species in Cape Verde included the Mediterranean monk seal, the northern bald ibis, the green sea turtle, and the hawksbill turtle. In a total of 103 bird species, three are endangered. Several types of reptile and 14 plant species out of 659 total species are currently considered threatened.