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Living Planet Report 2022

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Biodiversity and Environment.


Source: DTE, Indian Express

Directions: This Article has been taken from the Down to Earth and Indian Express. Go through it once, you can use it for value addition.


Context:  Recently WWF released its biennial Living Planet report 2022 showing trends in global biodiversity and the health of the planet.


Key highlights of the report:

  • Population decline in wildlife: There has been a 69 per cent decline in the wildlife populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish, across the globe in the last 50 years.
    • Freshwater species populations globally were reduced by 83 per cent.
    • Cycads — an ancient group of seed plants — are the most threatened species, while corals are declining the fastest, followed by amphibians.
  • Region-specific Assessment: The highest decline (94 per cent) was in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.
    • Africa recorded a 66 per cent fall in its wildlife populations from 1970-2018.
  • Mangroove: it continues to be lost to aquaculture, agriculture and coastal development at a rate of 13 per cent per year.
    • Mangrove loss represents a loss of habitat for biodiversity and the loss of ecosystem services for coastal communities.
  • Corals: About 50% of warm water corals have already been lost and warming of 5 degrees Celsius will lead to a loss of 70-90% of warm water corals.
  • Sharks: The global abundance of 18 of 31 oceanic sharks has declined by 71% over the last 50 years.
    • By 2020 three-quarters of sharks and rays were threatened with extinction.
  • Other highlights:
    • Rivers: Only 37% of rivers that are over 1,000 km long remain free-flowing in their natural state.

India-specific highlights:

  • The Himalayan region and the Western Ghats are the most vulnerable regions in the country in terms of biodiversity loss.
  • Sundarbans: 137 km of the Sundarbans mangrove forest have been eroded since 1985, reducing land and ecosystem services for people living there.
  • The country has seen a decline in the population of the likes of honeybees and 17 species of freshwater turtles in this period.

Challenges cited by Report:

  • Habitat loss and barriers to migration routes
  • Six Key threats to Biodiversity loss – are habitat degradation and loss, exploitation, the introduction of invasive species, pollution, climate change and disease.
  • Land-use change is still the biggest current threat to nature.
  • Overexploitation and pollution: Many mangroves are also degraded by overexploitation and pollution, alongside natural stressors such as storms and coastal erosion.
  • Climate change will impact key areas, such as water resources, agriculture, natural ecosystems, health and the food chain.
  • Agriculture is the most prevalent threat to amphibians whereas hunting and trapping are most likely to threaten birds and mammals.

What needs to be done?

  • Interlinkage: biodiversity loss and climate crisis should be dealt with as one instead of two different issues as they are intertwined.
  • All-inclusive collective approach: so as to put us on a more sustainable path and ensures that the costs and benefits from our actions are socially just and equitably shared.
  • A nature-positive future needs transformative, game-changing shifts in how we produce, how we consume, how we govern and what we finance.

What is the Living Planet Report?

Published by the international non-profit World Wide Fund for Nature every 2 years. Prepared in collaboration between WWF International and the Zoological Society of London. ZSL was founded in 1826 and is an international conservation charity.


Prelims link

Mains Links:

Write a note of the key findings of Living Planet Report 2022.