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Living Planet Report 2020

Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Living Planet Report 2020:


Released by international non-profit World Wide Fund for Nature.

  • This year’s Living Planet Report, a collaboration between WWF International and the Zoological Society of London, is the 13th edition of the biennial publication tracking wildlife populations around the world.

Key findings:

  1. The population of vertebrate species declined by around 68 per cent between 1970 and 2016. Living Planet Index was used by the report to calculate this decline.
  2. Wildlife populations in freshwater habitats suffered a decline of 84 per cent, equivalent to four per cent per year, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  3. The average two-thirds decline in global populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish in less than 50 years in large parts is due to the same environmental destruction, which is contributing to emergence of zoonotic diseases such as Covid-19.
  4. 75 per cent of earth’s ice-free land has been significantly altered, most of the oceans polluted and over 85 per cent area of wetlands lost ~ all due to human activity.
  5. One in five plants is threatened with extinction.

Factors responsible for this decline:

  1. Land-use change.
  2. Use and trade of wildlife.
  3. Natural habitat loss.
  4. Degradation and deforestation driven by food production processes.

India’s scenario:

  • India has 2.4 per cent global land share, about eight per cent global biodiversity and around 16 per cent global population
  • However, it has lost 12 per cent of its wild mammals, 19 per cent amphibians and 3 per cent birds over last five decades.
  • India’s ecological footprint per person is less than 1.6 global hectares (gha) / person (smaller than that of many large countries). But, its high population size have made the gross footprint significantly high.

Reforms suggested:

  • Making food production and trade more efficient and ecologically sustainable.
  • Reducing waste and favouring healthier and more environmentally friendly diets.


The report underlines humanity’s increasing destruction of nature had catastrophic impacts not just on wildlife populations, but also on human health. Therefore, in the midst of a global pandemic, it is now more important than ever to take unprecedented and coordinated global action to halt and start to reverse the loss of biodiversity and wildlife populations across the globe by the end of the decade.

What is Living Planet Report?

  • It is published every 2 years by WWF.
  • It is a comprehensive study of trends in global biodiversity and the health of the planet.
  • The report presents a comprehensive overview of the state of the natural world through the Living Planet Index (LPI).

What is Living Planet Index (LPI)?

It is a measure of the state of the world’s biological diversity based on population trends of vertebrate species in terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats.

What is ecological footprint?

Ecological footprint is the biologically productive area needed to provide for everything used by people: fruits and vegetables, fish, wood, fibres, absorption of CO2 from fossil fuels use, and space for buildings and roads.

  • It is currently developed by Global Footprint Network (an independent think-tank). The GHG footprint and carbon footprint are a component of Ecological Footprint.
  • Humanity’s Ecological Footprint for 2014 was 1.7 planet Earth’s. This meant that humanity’s demands were 1.7 times faster than what the Earth’s ecosystems renewed.



According to the National Footprints Accounts (2014), India has a bio-capacity of approximately 0.45 gha per person, which means it is a ‘bio-capacity debtor’ or an ‘ecologically deficit country’ with a 148 per cent more demand than supply on its natural resources.


Prelims Link:

  1. Living planet report is released by?
  2. About WWF International.
  3. Highlights of the 2020 report.
  4. What is ecological footprint?
  5. About Global Footprint Network.
  6. Humanity’s Ecological Footprint for 2014.

Mains Link:

Write a note the key findings of Living Planet Report 2020.

Sources: down to earth.