WWF/ZSL Living Planet Index
The Living Planet Index (LPI) is an indicator of the state of global biological diversity, based on trends in vertebrate populations of species from around the world.
The LPI is one of the indicators designated for immediate testing by the Convention on Biological Diversity as a means of measuring progress towards the 2010 target, specifically focussing on the headline indicator 'Trends in abundance and distribution of selected species'.
The work at ZSL is concerned with ensuring the most rigorous and robust methods are implemented for the measurement of population trends, expanding the coverage of the LPI to more broadly represent biodiversity, and disaggregating the index in meaningful ways (such as assessing the changes in different taxonomic groups, looking at species trends at a national or regional level and exploited or invasive species).
The Living Planet Database currently holds over 8000 population trends for more than 1,800 species of fish, amphibians, reptiles birds and mammals and data are continually being added from a variety of sources such as journals, online databases and government reports. Results are produce biennially in the WWF Living Planet Report and are used in publications such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the UNEP Global Biodiversity Outlook.
To calculate the LPI, generalised additive modelling is used to determine the underlying trends in each population time series. These rates are then aggregated to the species level and then each species trend is aggregated to produce an index for the terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems. The three system indices are weighted equally to produce the global LPI. The current LPI reveals a global decline of 27% between 1970 and 2005. The terrestrial index declined by 25%, freshwater by 29% (this index is calculated to 2003 due to the lack of data available for latter years), and marine by 28%.
Collen B., Loh J., Whitmee S., McRae L., Amin R. & Baillie J.E.M. (2008) Taking the pulse of the planet: What the Living Planet Index can tell us by 2010. In press
Loh J, Collen B, McRae L, Carranza TT, Pamplin FA, Amin R and Baillie JEM (2008) Living Planet Index in 'Living Planet Report 2008' (ed. C Hails) WWF International: Gland, Switzerland. Download PDF
Collen, B., McRae, L., Kothari, G., Mellor, R., Daniel, O., Greenwood, A., Amin, R., Holbrook, S. and Baillie, J. (2008) Living Planet Index. 2010 and beyond: rising to the biodiversity challenge (ed. By J. Loh), WWF, Gland, Switzerland. Download PDF
McRae, L., Loh, J., Collen, B., Holbrook, S., Amin, R., Latham, J., Tranquilli, S. and Baillie, J. (2007) Living Planet Index. Canadian Living Planet Report 2007 (ed. By S. Mitchell and A. Peller), WWF-Canada, Toronto, Canada.
Loh, J., Collen, B., McRae, L., Holbrook, S., Amin, R., Ram, M., and Baillie, J. (2006) Living Planet Index. Living Planet Report (ed. By J. Loh & S. Goldfinger), WWF, Gland, Switzerland.
Loh, J., Green, R.E., Ricketts, T., Lamoreux, J., Jenkins, M., Kapos, V., and Randers, J., (2005) The Living Planet Index: using species population time series to track trends in biodiversity. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 360: 289–295.