Living Planet Index
The Living Planet Index (LPI) data tells us how species are faring, by measuring trends in monitored populations of 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 2022
Key findings in the Living Planet Report 2022 show that:
- From 1970 to 2018, there was an average 69 per cent decline in the global Living Planet Index, which was based on almost 32,000 populations of over 5,200 species.
- In other words, the relative population abundance of monitored mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish has, on average, dropped by more than two-thirds in 48 years.
- Species declines are particularly pronounced in more biodiverse regions and freshwater systems.
- The main threats to species populations are habitat loss and degradation, and overexploitation.
Read more headline statistics from the Living Planet Report 2022.
Living Planet Report
The results of the global Living Planet Index (LPI) are published biennially in WWF's Living Planet Report, a leading science-based publication on the state of the planet and associated challenges and solutions.
WWF’s LPR is produced in collaboration with ZSL and a number of other organisations, measuring human pressures and impacts on the planet.
With contributions from 81 authors from around the world, this year’s report focuses on the global double emergency of climate change and biodiversity loss. The speed and scale at which biodiversity is changing as well as the impacts of this change can be monitored using indicators such as the Living Planet Index.
Based on the largest dataset yet, the global LPI shows an average 69% decrease in monitored wildlife populations between 1970 and 2018. Particularly stark declines are shown in the Latin America and Caribbean region (94%) and in freshwater species (83%). The main drivers of wildlife population decline around the world are habitat degradation and loss, exploitation, the introduction of invasive species, pollution, climate change and disease.
The report argues that the twin crises can be mitigated with increased conservation and restoration efforts, more sustainable production and consumption of food, and decarbonisation of all sectors. Policymakers will have a unique opportunity at the 15th Conference of Parties for the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in December 2022 to deliver an ambitious agreement to reverse biodiversity loss, akin to the net-zero emissions by 2050 target of the Paris Agreement. A nature-positive future is possible with the support of governments, business and society, including the conservation leadership of Indigenous Peoples and local communities around the world.
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 nearly 40,000 populations of more than 5,200 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 global dataset, which is continuously expanded, can be disaggregated to measure trends in different thematic areas, including 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. Using machine learning, the index has also been used to show how populations may respond in future to different policy interventions to see what action is needed to bend the curve of biodiversity loss.
In recent years, new research has highlighted the sensitivity of the LPI to extreme declines and increases in populations, prompting discussions about how metrics such as the LPI can capture change in biodiversity without oversimplifying the state of biodiversity or masking underlying important trends. Conversations are also being had about ecological baselines to compare abundance change to, and what the LPI actually measures.
To help with making sense of the index and to highlight current discussions around it, there is more information available on how the LPI works, how to interpret its sensitivity to extreme changes and how it is calculated.