Living Planet Report 2018
The Living Planet Index data tells us how species are faring, by measuring trends in 16,705 monitored populations of 4,005 vertebrate species. It is not a census of all wildlife, but reports the average percentage change in size of over 16,000 wildlife populations monitored throughout the world.
Key findings in the Living Planet Report 2018 show that:
- From 1970 to 2014, there was a 60 per cent overall decline in vertebrate population sizes.
- In other words, the population abundance of monitored mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have, on average, dropped by more than half in little more than 40 years.
- Species declines are particularly pronounced in the tropics and freshwater systems.
- The main threats to species populations are habitat loss and degradation, and overexploitation.
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.
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, from why biodiversity matters to threats and pressures on the natural world and how they are impacting biodiversity to a blueprint for a plan to aim higher and bend the curve of biodiversity loss.
ZSL contributes to many of these chapters 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 disaggregate this index into different regions of the world called biogeographic realms. We also highlight the declines in freshwater systems.
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 21,000 populations of more than 4,200 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 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.