Living Planet Report

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) published the Living Planet Report in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL.) It is a biennial report (published every two years.) ZSL manages the living planet index (LPI) that too is released along with the report.

This article is important for the IAS Exam preparation as the report brings out key findings related to biodiversity, challenges to nature and suggestions to heal nature. All these are important topics under GS 3 of UPSC Mains.

This article will provide you with the latest information published in Living Planet Report 2022.

Important Facts related to the Living Planet Report

Who published the living planet report? WWF publishes the report in partnership with ZSL

Official site of the Living Planet Report-

When is the report released? It is a biennial publication, hence it is published once every two years.
The latest report Living Planet Report 2022 – There has been a 69% decline in the wildlife populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish, across the globe in the last 50 years.
The report ‘Living Planet Report’ is one of the important international organizations’ reports. There are similar other important reports that are a must-read for UPSC examination:

  1. Global Environment Outlook
  2. World Happiness Report
  3. Human Development Report
  4. World Economic Outlook Report
  5. Global Wage Report
  6. Global Financial Stability Report
  7. World Investment Report
  8. Global Competitiveness Report

Living Planet Report 2022

Key findings  of the Living Planet Report 2022 –

  1. Decline in Freshwater Species:
    • Population of Freshwater Species reduced by 83% globally.
      • Habitat loss and barriers to migration routes were responsible for about half of the threats to monitored migratory fish species.
  2. Collapsing Vertebrate Wildlife Populations:
    • Living Planet Index (LPI) showed that vertebrate wildlife populations are collapsing at a particularly staggering rate in tropical regions of the world.
    • Featuring about 32,000 populations of 5,230 species across the world, LPI is a measure of the state of the world’s biological diversity based on population trends of vertebrate species from terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats.
  3. Region-wise Decline in Wildlife Populations:
    • The highest decline in the wildlife populations was in Latin America with (94%) and the Caribbean region.
    • Africa recorded a 66% fall in its wildlife populations from 1970-2018 whereas the Asia-Pacific recorded a decline of 55%.
  4. Mangrove Degradation:
    • Mangroves continue to be lost to aquaculture, agriculture and coastal development at a rate of 0.13% per year.
      • Many mangroves are also degraded by overexploitation and pollution, alongside natural stressors such as storms and coastal erosion.
    • Around 137 square kilometres of the Sundarbans mangrove forest in India and Bangladesh has been eroded since 1985, reducing land and ecosystem services for many of the 10 million people who live there.
  5. Key Threats to Biodiversity identified by WWF:
    • WWF identified six key threats to biodiversity to highlight ‘threat hotspots’ for terrestrial vertebrates:
      • Agriculture
      • Hunting
      • Logging
      • Pollution
      • Invasive Species
      • Climate Change

Living Planet Report 2022- Recommendations

  • The planet is experiencing double emergencies of human-induced climate change and biodiversity loss, threatening the well-being of current and future generations. Biodiversity loss and climate crisis should be dealt with as one instead of two different issues as they are intertwined.
  • A nature-positive future needs transformative, game-changing shifts in how we produce, how we consume, how we govern and what we finance.
  • An all-inclusive collective approach towards a more sustainable path must be adopted. It will ensure that the costs and benefits from our actions are socially just and equitably shared.
What is the Living Planet Index?

It works as an indicator of biodiversity health. It measures the state of the world’s biological diversity based on the population trends of vertebrate species. (Animals having backbones or vertical columns.)

  • It tracks almost 21000 populations of vertebrates.
  • UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has adopted LPI as the indicator of progress towards the convention’s 2011-12 target to take actions to halt biodiversity loss.
  • Institute of Zoology (ZSL) manages the Living Planet Index.
  • ZSL was founded in 1826 and is an international conservation charity.

What is not tracked by the Living Planet Index?

  • The numbers of species lost or extinct
  • Percentage of species declining
  • Percentage of populations or individuals lost

Living Planet Report 2020

  1. Living Planet Report 2020 – 13th edition. The report urges world leaders to “build a more sustainable, resilient and healthy post Covid world for people and nature.”
  2. Living Planet Index is declining – Between 1970 and 2016, an average 68 percent decrease is reported in population sizes of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fishes.
  3. World’s largest fall in the Living Planet Index is witnessed in subregions of America – 94 percent decline in LPI.
  4. Biodiversity on the brink:
    1. Rise in Ocean Pollution – Most of the oceans are polluted
    2. Alteration of landmasses – 75 percent of the ice-free land surface has been altered
    3. Loss of wetlands – 85 percent of the wetland areas have been lost
  5. Threatened with Extinction species – 1 million species (10 lakhs animals, plants and insects) are threatened with extinction.
  6. Freshwater living planet index – One in three freshwater species is threatened with extinction.
    1. 4 percent decline per year since 1970 is witnessed in the population of freshwater species.
    2. Megafauna species exposed to anthropogenic threats
  7. Since 1970, human ecological footprints have exceeded the earth’s biocapacity.
  8. Loss in terrestrial habitats due to:
    1. Change in land-uses
    2. Conversion of pristine native habitats like forests, mangroves and grasslands into agricultural systems.
    3. Doubling of world human population
    4. Trade increase
  9. The report is a reminder of the Paris Agreement which pledges to limit human-induced climate change. The living planet report mentions global emissions of greenhouse gases to be the same in the 2030s.
  10. A rise of 3-4 degrees celsius projected against the 1.5-degree celsius aspirant target.
  11. Biodiversity is declining at different rates in different places. The reports mentioned the following as threats to the biodiversity:
    1. Changes in land and sea use, including habitat loss and degradation
    2. Species overexploitation
    3. Invasive species and diseases
    4. Pollution
    5. Climate Change
  12. Catastrophic events that led to biodiversity loss in India – In 2019, exceptionally hot and long heatwaves led to extreme droughts.

Suggestions Tabled by Living Planet Report 2020

  1. Need for a transformational change:
    1. Increased conservation efforts
    2. Change in ways of production and consumption of food and energy
    3. Collective efforts at all levels – government, citizens, business leaders collectively step ahead to reverse climate change.
  2. Making connections from land to sea – Scaling up assessments of the environmental impacts of food systems 43, by mapping synergies and trade-offs of biodiversity protection on human well-being, could help us to better understand the influence of feedbacks on sustainability pathways
  3. Climate mitigation and reduction of human stressors to reverse negative changes in the sea systems:
    1. Plastic pollution to be curtailed
    2. Overfishing to be prohibited
  4. Dietary changes and restrictions on land conversion can make reversing biodiversity decline possible after 2020.
  5. New deal for nature and people – Set of new goals and target to see us on the path to recovery by 2030.
  6. A fight against the novel coronavirus disease will guide the world in times ahead as the disease is one of the major connections between people’ health and the planet.
  7. Efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can help reverse biodiversity loss.
Some important facts from Living Planet Report 2018 for comparison:

  1. 60 percent of loss in population sizes of vertebrates
  2. 80 percent of loss in population size of freshwater species
  3. Latin America was reported to be the worst-hit region with 90 percent loss in wildlife.
  4. Accelerating fall in birds, mammals, amphibians, corals and an ancient family of plants.
  5. Rate of extinction of species 100-1000 times greater than the natural rate of extinction
  6. Nearly 20 percent of Amazon Forest disappeared in the last 50 years.

Living Planet Report 2022 – UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

Candidates preparing for IAS 2023 can check the related links for preparation:

UPSC Eligibility Criteria Environment & Ecology Notes for UPSC
Environment Questions from UPSC Mains GS 3 NCERT Notes for UPSC
UPSC Notes PDF List of Important Environment Conventions and Protocols
UPSC Apply Online UPSC Mains Result


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