Living Planet report was recently released which assesses how the natural world is coping with the stress of rising human population. Findings suggest that there is a 58% overall decline population sizes from 1970 to 2012. The 58% decline is based on the average measured across over 3,700 vertebrate species.
Living Planet report obtained most of their data from published scientific literature. According to the report, the primary driver of global species decline is habitat loss and the secondary driver is overexploitation which includes poaching and overfishing.
Pollution, invasive species and climate change also contribute significantly to species decline. According to Living Planet report, all these forces come together to form “Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse for the populations that are in decline”.
The biggest loss of wildlife is found in fresh water in which nearly 81% of fresh water species have, on average, declined in size between 1970 to 2012.
Historically, most of the species loss has come from world’s temperate zones including North America, Europe and Russia where human populations have grown significantly over thousands of years.
Many critics of the Living Planet report argue that it oversimplifies the complexity of the problem and further argues the accuracy of expressing large volumes of data.
It is important to note that, regardless of the accuracy of the Living Planet report, the global wildlife populations continue to decline and it is important to acknowledge that climate change has caused detrimental effects on the species worldwide.