AboutZoos, Since 2008


Cat­a­strophic global trend in ani­mal decline

pub­lished 03 Novem­ber 2018 | mod­i­fied 03 Novem­ber 2018
  • The Liv­ing Planet Index indi­cates that global pop­u­la­tions of ver­te­brate species have, on aver­age, declined in size by 60 per cent in just over 40 years.

  • The biggest dri­vers of cur­rent bio­di­ver­sity loss are over­ex­ploita­tion and agri­cul­ture, both linked to con­tin­u­ally increas­ing human consumption.

  • Run­away human con­sump­tion is severely under­min­ing nature’s abil­ity to power and sus­tain our lives, soci­eties and economies: glob­ally, nature pro­vides ser­vices for human­ity worth around US$125 tril­lion a year.

  • Given the inter­con­nec­tiv­ity between the health of nature, the well-​being of peo­ple and the future of our planet, WWF urges the global com­mu­nity to unite for a global deal for nature and peo­ple to reverse the trend of bio­di­ver­sity loss.

LPR 2018 wwfThe Liv­ing Planet Report 2018 under­lines the impor­tance and value of nature to people’s health and well-​being and that of our soci­eties and economies.
© Karine Aigner /​WWF-​US

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, accord­ing to WWF’s Liv­ing Planet Report 2018. The report, released on 30 Octo­ber, presents 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 2018 presents a com­pre­hen­sive overview of the state of our nat­ural world, twenty years after the flag­ship report was first pub­lished. Through indi­ca­tors such as the Liv­ing Planet Index (LPI), pro­vided by the Zoo­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Lon­don (ZSL), the Species Habi­tat Index, the IUCN Red List Index, and the Bio­di­ver­sity Intact­ness Index, as well as Plan­e­tary Bound­aries and the Eco­log­i­cal Foot­print, the report paints a sin­gu­lar dis­turb­ing pic­ture: human activ­ity is push­ing the planet’s nat­ural sys­tems that sup­port life on earth to the edge of sus­tain­ing exis­tence of life as is.

Sci­ence is show­ing us the harsh real­ity our forests, oceans and rivers are endur­ing at our hands. Inch by inch and species by species, shrink­ing wildlife num­bers and wild places are an indi­ca­tor of the tremen­dous impact and pres­sure we are exert­ing on the planet, under­min­ing the very liv­ing fab­ric that sus­tains us all: nature and bio­di­ver­sity,” said Marco Lam­ber­tini, Direc­tor Gen­eral, WWF International.

LPI 1970 - 2012The LPI, which tracks trends in global wildlife abun­dance, indi­cates that global pop­u­la­tions of fish, birds, mam­mals, amphib­ians and rep­tiles declined, on aver­age, by 60 per cent between 1970 and 2014, the most recent year with avail­able data. The top threats to species iden­ti­fied in the report are directly linked to human activ­i­ties, includ­ing habi­tat loss and degra­da­tion and over­ex­ploita­tion of wildlife.

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.

Prof. Ken Nor­ris, Direc­tor of Sci­ence, Zoo­log­i­cal Soci­ety of London.

Human activ­ity under­min­ing nature’s abil­ity to sup­port human­ity
Over recent decades, human activ­ity has also severely impacted the habi­tats and nat­ural resources wildlife and human­ity depend on such as oceans, forests, coral reefs, wet­lands and man­groves. 20 per cent of the Ama­zon has dis­ap­peared in just 50 years while the earth is esti­mated to have lost about half of its shal­low water corals in the past 30 years.

While high­light­ing the extent and impact of human activ­ity on nature, the Liv­ing Planet Report 2018 also focuses on the impor­tance and value of nature to people’s health and well-​being and that of our soci­eties and economies. Glob­ally, nature pro­vides ser­vices worth around US$125 tril­lion a year, while also help­ing ensure the sup­ply of fresh air, clean water, food, energy, med­i­cines and other prod­ucts and materials.

The report specif­i­cally looks at the impor­tance of pol­li­na­tors which are respon­si­ble for US$ 235577 bil­lion in crop pro­duc­tion per year, and how a chang­ing cli­mate, inten­sive agri­cul­tural prac­tices, inva­sive species and emerg­ing dis­eases have impacted their abun­dance, diver­sity and health.

Nature has been silently sus­tain­ing and pow­er­ing our soci­eties and economies for cen­turies, and con­tin­ues to do so today. In return, the world has con­tin­ued to take nature and its ser­vices for granted, fail­ing to act against the accel­er­at­ing loss of nature. It is time we real­ized that a healthy, sus­tain­able future for all is only pos­si­ble on a planet where nature thrives and forests, oceans and rivers are teem­ing with bio­di­ver­sity and life,” added Lam­ber­tini. “We need to urgently rethink how we use and value nature — cul­tur­ally, eco­nom­i­cally and on our polit­i­cal agen­das. We need to think of nature as beau­ti­ful and inspi­ra­tional, but also as indis­pens­able. We — and the planet — need a new global deal for nature and peo­ple now.”

A roadmap for action on nature — for 2020 and beyond
Evi­dence shows that the two agen­das — for the envi­ron­ment and human devel­op­ment — must con­verge if we are to build a sus­tain­able future for all. The Liv­ing Planet Report 2018 high­lights the oppor­tu­nity the global com­mu­nity has to pro­tect and restore nature lead­ing up to 2020, a crit­i­cal year when lead­ers are expected to review the progress made on the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals, the Paris Agree­ment and the Con­ven­tion on Bio­log­i­cal Diver­sity (CBD).

WWF is call­ing on peo­ple, busi­nesses and gov­ern­ments to mobi­lize and deliver on a com­pre­hen­sive frame­work agree­ment for nature and peo­ple under the CBD, one that gal­va­nizes pub­lic and pri­vate action to pro­tect and restore global bio­di­ver­sity and nature and bend the curve on the dev­as­tat­ing trends high­lighted in the Liv­ing Planet Report 2018.

Chap­ter 4 of the report is inspired by a paper titled ‘Aim­ing higher to bend the curve of bio­di­ver­sity loss’ which sug­gests a roadmap for the tar­gets, indi­ca­tors and met­rics the 196 mem­ber states of the CBD could con­sider to deliver an urgent, ambi­tious and effec­tive global agree­ment for nature, as the world did for cli­mate in Paris, when they meet at the 14th Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties to the CBD in Egypt in Novem­ber 2018.

The CBD CoP14 will bring together world lead­ers, busi­nesses and civil soci­ety to develop the post-​2020 frame­work for action for global bio­di­ver­sity and thus marks a mile­stone moment to set the ground­work for an urgently needed global deal for nature and people.

Liv­ing Planet Report 2018 is the twelfth edi­tion of WWF’s bien­nial flag­ship pub­li­ca­tion. The report includes the lat­est find­ings mea­sured by the Liv­ing Planet Index track­ing 16,704 pop­u­la­tions of 4,005 ver­te­brate species from 1970 to 2014.

Liv­ing Planet Report 2018 | full report

Liv­ing Planet Report 2018 | sum­mary

Liv­ing Planet Report 2018 | at a glance

(Source: WWF press release, 30.10.2018)

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Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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