The Global Living Planet Index
Figure 1. Global Living Planet Index 2012 – the white line represents the index, whilst the shaded blue area represents the confidence interval.
A global decline
The Living Planet Index reveals a global decline in vertebrate population abundance of 30% between 1970 and 2008, with no indication of this decrease abating.
All life depends on the Earth’s biological productivity, and as the human population continues to increase its demands upon the biosphere, wild species and their habitats are being placed under increasing pressure across all biomes and regions of the world.
Declines in biodiversity have consequences for the ecosystem services on which humans depend for a multitude of purposes including provision of food, medicine and freshwater.
Temperate and tropical regions
The global index is calculated as an average of the population trends in temperate and in tropical regions (see method) . Figure 1 shows that the temperate index increased by 31% overall whereas the tropical index reveals a 61% decline in species abundance over the 36 year period.
It does not necessarily imply, however, that tropical biodiversity is in a worse state than temperate biodiversity. Rather, current rates of decline in population size are more rapid in tropical systems and represent a severe and ongoing loss of biodiversity in tropical ecosystems.
For more information on the 2012 report see here Living Planet Report 2012