Wildlife, populations collapsed by 69% in 50 years

Data from the Living Planet Report (Lpr) 2022, the biennial report on the health of the planet

Since 1970 populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish around the world have suffered a devastating average decline: the populations of wildlife monitored by the Living Planet Report (Lpr) 2022, the biennial report on the health of the planet, which the Wwf launches globally today, dropped by an average of 69%. The report highlights the “dramatic prospects for the state of health of nature and launches an urgent appeal to governments, businesses and the public: immediate action is needed to reverse the dramatic loss of biodiversity which, together with the emergency of the human-induced climate change threatens the well-being of current and future generations “.

With its data base, which includes nearly 32,000 populations of 5,230 vertebrate species, the Living Planet Index (LPI), provided in the report by the Zoological Society of London, shows that in tropical regions the abundance of vertebrate populations wild animals are collapsing at a particularly staggering rate. In particular, the LPI data reveals that between 1970 and 2018 the wildlife populations monitored in Latin America and the Caribbean region decreased by an average of 94%. In about 50 years, globally freshwater populations monitored decreased by 83% on average: this is the largest decline of any group of species. For Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, “we are facing a double emergency: man-made climate change and the loss of biodiversity, which threaten the well-being of current and future generations. The WWF is extremely concerned by these. new data showing a devastating decline in wildlife populations, particularly in tropical regions that are home to some of the most biodiverse areas in the world. ”

World leaders will meet in December at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. WWF calls on leaders to “commit to a ‘Paris-style’ agreement that can reverse the loss of biodiversity to ensure a nature-positive world by 2030”. “At the Cop15 biodiversity conference in December, leaders will have the opportunity to reset our relationship with the natural world and deliver a healthier and more sustainable future for all, with an ambitious global biodiversity agreement that is nature-positive.” Lambertini – Faced with the worsening of the crisis of nature, it is essential that this agreement provides for immediate action on the ground, including through the transformation of the sectors that cause the loss of nature, and financial support for developing countries “.

For Andrew Terry, ZSL’s Director of Conservation and Policy, “The Living Planet Index highlights how we have destroyed the very foundations of life and the situation continues to worsen. Half of the global economy and billions of people depend directly on nature. loss of biodiversity and restoring vital ecosystems must be at the top of the global agendas to address the growing climate, environmental and public health crisis. ”

THE CAUSES – According to the Living Planet Report the main causes of the decline in wildlife populations are changes in land and sea use, over-exploitation of plants and animals, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species, threats from agriculture, hunting and poaching, and deforestation are particularly severe in the tropics; while pollution hotspots are particularly important in Europe. Furthermore, unless we limit global warming to below 2 ° C, or preferably 1.5 ° C, climate change is likely to become the main cause of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation in the coming decades.