Living Planet Index

African elephants in Tsavo, Kenya

Living Planet Index

The Living Planet Index (LPI) data tells us how species are faring, by measuring trends in 20,811 monitored populations of 4,392 vertebrate species. It is not a census of all wildlife, but reports the average percentage change in size of these populations monitored throughout the world.

The results of the global LPI are published biennially in WWF's Living Planet Report (LPR), a leading science-based publication on the state of the planet and associated challenges and solutions.


Living Planet Report 2020

Key findings in the Living Planet Report 2020 show that:

  • From 1970 to 2016, there was an average 68 per cent decline in the Living Planet Index. 
  • In other words, the population abundance of monitored mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have, on average, dropped by more than two-thirds in just over 45 years. 
  • Species declines are particularly pronounced in tropical regions and freshwater systems.  
  • The main threats to species populations are habitat loss and degradation, and overexploitation.

Download the 2020 full report

Download the 2020 summary report

Download the 2020 Deep Dive into Freshwater

Download the 2020 Deep Dive into biodiversity in a warming world

Download the 2020 voices for a living planet

Download the 2020 Technical Supplement

Living Planet Report Cover image 2020



Living Planet Report

The results of the global Living Panet Index (LPI) are published biennially in WWF's Living Planet Report (LPR), a leading science-based publication on the state of the planet and associated challenges and solutions.

Photograph of a frog's head sticking above the surface of a pond

WWF’s LPR is produced in collaboration with ZSL and a number of other organisations, measuring human pressures and impacts on the planet.

Each chapter in the LPR presents a different topic, including why biodiversity matters, threats and pressures on the natural world and how they are impacting biodiversity, and how ambitious, integrated action can help bend the curve of biodiversity loss.

ZSL contributes to many of the chapters in the LPR and it is here that we publish the latest results from the LPI. We present the global LPI to indicate the current state of biodiversity on the planet and divide this index into different regions of the world following the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

We highlight trends in reptiles, freshwater systems, forest species and grassland butterflies. We also write about our latest research on the effect of land-use change and climate warming on bird and mammal abundance, and the use of scenario modelling to show how changes to production and consumption and increased conservation action can bend the curve of biodiversity loss.

Read the 2020 report


Related ZSL Wild Science podcasts

Can I protect the planet? How our daily decisions impact biodiversity decline
ZSL researcher Monni Böhm discusses whether the problem of declining biodiversity requires global-scale political, technological and economic solutions, or whether individuals can make a difference.

Biodiversity indicators: getting the measure of biodiversity and what it all means
Monni explores the ins and outs of biodiversity indicators with IOZ’s Indicator and Assessments Research Unit. How do such metrics come about and why do we need them? What are their strengths and weaknesses? And… are spiders “huggable”? 

Sunset over the Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Living Planet Index (LPI) is a measure of the state of global biological diversity based on population trends of vertebrate species from around the world. It does this in much the same way that a stock market index tracks the value of a set of shares or a retail price index tracks the cost of a basket of consumer goods.

The Living Planet Database (LPD) currently holds time-series data for over 27,000 populations of more than 4,700 mammal, bird, fish, reptile, amphibian and butterfly species from around the world, which are gathered from a variety of sources such as journals, online databases and government reports.

Using a method developed by ZSL and WWF, these species population trends are aggregated to produce indices of the state of biodiversity for communication and informing policy.

The rest of our work focusses on expanding the coverage of LPI data to more broadly represent vertebrate biodiversity from all around the globe and disaggregating the index to measure trends in different thematic areas.

This includes assessing the changes in different taxonomic groups, looking at species trends at a national or regional level, identifying how different threats affect populations and providing an insight into how conservation intervention can promote species recoveries.


LPR 2020: Key results and stats from the LPI