Humanity and the way we feed, fuel and finance our societies and economies is pushing nature and the services that power and sustain us to the brink.
Our new Living Planet Report, released today, paints a sobering picture of the impact of human activity on the world’s wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers and climate, underlining the rapidly closing window for action and the urgent need for the global community to collectively rethink and redefine how we value, protect and restore nature.
The Living Planet Report indicates that global populations of vertebrate species have, on average, declined in size by 60 per cent in just over 40 years. Freshwater species populations have suffered a 76% decline, an average loss almost double that of land and marine species.
The report highlights that the biggest recorded threat to biodiversity comes from the combined impacts of habitat loss and degradatin, driven by unsustainable human consumption. Although the report shows the situation is critical, there is still hope. Protecting nature needs focused conservation action, political will and support from businesses to achieve a healthy future for both people and nature.
Prof. Ken Norris, Director of Science at ZSL said:
“From rivers and rainforests, to mangroves and mountainsides, across the planet our work shows that wildlife abundance has declined dramatically since 1970. The statistics are scary, but all hope is not lost. We have an opportunity to design a new path forward that allows us to co-exist sustainably with the wildlife we depend upon. Our report sets out an ambitious agenda for change. We are going to need your help to achieve it.”
ZSL’s Living Planet Index is the world’s leading database on wildlife and a measure of the state of the work’s biological diversity based on population trends of species from around the world.
The LPI is produced by the ZSL’s Institute of Zoology’s Indicators and Assessments Unit who work with a network of collaborators including the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS).