Living Planet Index
Living Planet Report
The 2014 Living Planet Report is the tenth edition of WWF's flagship publication which uses the Living Planet Index to track changes in wildlife populations. The biennial report, produced in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, uses the global LPI as a measure of the health of over 10,000 populations of more than 3,000 species. Download the full report here
The main statistic from the report is the global LPI which shows a 52% decline between 1970 and 2010. This means that animal populations are roughly half the size they were in 40 years ago.
Figure 1: The global LPI shows a 52% decline between 1970 and 2010. The white line shows the index values and the shaded areas represent the 95% confidence intervals surrounding the trend. WWF/ZSL (2014)
The LPI can be divided into terrestrial, freshwater and marine indices to show how trends vary in different ecosystems. Freshwater species populations have suffered a 76% decline, an average loss almost double that of land and marine species.
Terrestrial species declined by 39 per cent between 1970 and 2010, a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. The loss of habitat to make way for human land use – particularly for agriculture, urban development and energy production – continues to be a major threat, compounded by hunting.
The LPI for freshwater species shows an average decline of 76 per cent. The main threats to freshwater species are habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution and invasive species. Changes to water levels and freshwater system connectivity – for example through irrigation and hydropower dams – have a major impact on freshwater habitats.
Marine species declined by 39 per cent between 1970 and 2010. The period from 1970 through to the mid-1980s experienced the steepest drop in numbers, after which there was some stability, before another recent period of decline. The largest reductions can be seen in the tropics and the Southern Ocean – species in decline include marine turtles, many sharks, and large migratory seabirds like the wandering albatross.
The biggest recorded threat to biodiversity globally comes from the combined impacts of habitat loss and degradation, driven by unsustainable human consumption. The impacts of climate change are of increasing concern.
Figure 2: Primary threats to populations in the LPI. Information on threats has been identified for 3,430 populations in the LPI and assigned to seven categories. Other populations are either not threatened or lack information on threats. WWF/ZSL (2014)