Living Planet Report-Shrinking biodiversity: 69% drop in wildlife populations in nearly 5 decades, shows report

Source: The post is based on the article “Shrinking biodiversity: 69% drop in wildlife populations in nearly 5 decades, shows report” published in the Indian Express on 13th October 2022.

What is the News?

Recently, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released the Living Planet Report.

About the Living Planet Report

It is a biennial report produced by the Zoological Society of London. The report measures how species are responding to pressure in the environment due to biodiversity loss and climate change.

What are the key findings of the Living Planet Report?
Global findings of the Living Planet Report

Wild life populations: Monitored wildlife populations — including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish — have seen a 69% drop between 1970 and 2018.

Latin America and the Caribbean regions have seen the largest decline of monitored wildlife populations globally, with an average decline of 94% between 1970 and 2018.

During the same period, monitored populations in Africa plummeted by 66%, while Asia Pacific’s monitored populations fell by 55%.

Oceans: The global abundance of 18 of 31 oceanic sharks have declined by 71% over the last 50 years. By 2020 three-quarters of sharks and rays were threatened with extinction.

Most threatened species: Freshwater populations have declined the most, with an average 83% decline between 1970 and 2018.

Cycads — an ancient group of seed plants — are the most threatened species, while corals are declining the fastest, followed by amphibians.

The Bramble Cay melomys, a small Australian rodent, was declared extinct after sea-level rise.

Mangroves: Despite their importance, mangroves continue to be deforested by aquaculture, agriculture and coastal development at a rate of 0.13% annually.

Main drivers of wildlife population decline: a) Habitat degradation and loss, b) exploitation, c) the introduction of invasive species, d) pollution, e) climate change and disease, f) Land-use change and g) Rising temperatures.

Agriculture is the most prevalent threat to amphibians. Hunting and trapping are most likely to threaten birds and mammals.

Findings of the Living Planet Report related to India

Vulnerable regions: The Himalayan region and the Western Ghats are some of the most vulnerable regions in the country in terms of biodiversity loss, and where increased biodiversity loss is expected in future if temperatures are to increase.

Decline in species: India has seen a decline in the population of honeybees and 17 species of freshwater turtles in this period.

Sundarbans: 137 km of the Sundarbans mangrove forest have been eroded since 1985, reducing land and ecosystem services for many of the 10 million people who lived there.

River ecosystem: Rivers in India are no longer free-flowing. This has threatened migration of fish.

Appreciated India’s conservation efforts: India has seen successes such as Project Tiger, or (projects for) the one-horned rhino and lions. Projects like the recent cheetah translocation are therefore good in the preservation of species.

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