The latest Living Planet Report 2016, published by WWF in collaboration with Global Footprint Network and Zoological Society of London, shows that the overexploitation of natural resources due to human activities could cause wildlife worldwide to decline by 67% by 2020.
The report monitored over 3,000 vertebrate species (mammals, birds, fishes, amphibians, reptiles) from more than 14,000 different populations from around the world and found that 58% have already declined between 1970 and 2012. The data shows that this decline is occurring at an annual rate of 2%, with no indication of this rate slowing down.
According to the report, the most common threat to declining populations is habitat loss and degradation along with overexploitation being another top threat. Humanity continues to demand more from the natural resources our planet can sustainably offer. The report estimates that by 2012, 1.6 Earths were needed to provide the goods and services demanded by humans that year. If no changes are made, it is projected that the Earth's ecosystems will exceed their regenerative capacity by 75% by 2020. As highlighted in the report, to address these social inequalities and environmental degradation, a deeper understanding of our natural systems is required and a need to shift toward living within Planetary Boundaries.
The Living Planet Report emphasises the need to accelerate our transition to a sustainable society, particularly if we are to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the commitments made under the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The report brings to the forefront the importance of increasing a shared understanding of the links between humanity and nature to ensure a more sustainable future.
"This important report, amplifies the IUCN Red List findings and once again raises the alarm of the biodiversity crisis which is too often overlooked by the climate change challenge. It may be time for a Paris Agreement on Biodiversity loss to tackle this crisis,” said Luc Bas, Director, IUCN European Regional Office.
Read the summary Living Planet Report 2016 here.
Read the full report here.