Living Planet Report 2022

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    In News

    • Recently, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released Living Planet Report 2022.

    About Living Planet Report

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    • Living Planet Report is WWF’s flagship publication.
    • It is released every two years.
    • It is a comprehensive study of trends in global biodiversity and health of the planet. It tracks changes in the relative abundance of wild species populations across the globe.
    • The LPI is continually changing with 838 new species and 11,011 new populations being added to the dataset since the 2020 LPR was released.
      • There has been a significant increase in the number of fish species (481) that have been added to the Living Planet Report. 

    Major outcomes of the report

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    • Decline in Population 
      • There has been a 69 percent decline in the wildlife populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish, across the globe in the last 50 years.
      • The freshwater populations have declined the most, with an average 83% decline between 1970 and 2018.
      • The IUCN Red List shows cycads, an ancient group of seed plants, are the most threatened species, while corals are declining the fastest, followed by amphibians.
    • Region wise assessment
      • The highest decline (94 percent) was in Latin America and the Caribbean region.
      • Africa recorded a 66 per cent fall in its wildlife populations from 1970-2018.
      • Asia Pacific’s monitored populations fell by 55%. 
      • Southeast Asia is the region where species are most likely to face threats at a significant level.
      • The Polar Regions and the east coast of Australia and South Africa showed the highest impact probabilities for climate change, driven in particular by impact on birds.
    • Mangroves
      • Mangroves continue to be lost to aquaculture, agriculture and coastal development at a rate of 0.13 percent per year.
        • Mangrove-loss represents loss of habitat for biodiversity and the loss of ecosystem services for coastal communities. 
      • Around 137 square kilometres of the Sundarbans mangrove forest in India and Bangladesh has been eroded since 1985, reducing land and ecosystem services for many of the 10 million people who live there.
    • Corals
      • About 50% of warm water corals have already been lost and a warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius will lead to a loss of 70-90% of warm water corals. 
        • The Bramble Cay melomys, a small Australian rodent, was declared extinct after sea-level rise. 
    • Sharks
      • The global abundance of 18 of 31 oceanic sharks has declined by 71% over the last 50 years and the report said that by 2020 three-quarters of sharks and rays were threatened with extinction. 
    • Others
      • Only 37% of rivers longer than 1,000km remain free-flowing over their entire length.
      • 41% land-use change is the biggest current threat to nature.
      • Report says action is needed to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and keep global warming to 1.5ºC.
      • By moving to sustainable, healthy, and culturally appropriate diets we can reduce agricultural land use by 41% and wildlife loss by up to 46%. 

    India specific study

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

    Difference between species & populations

    • Species and populations are two levels of classification of organisms in ecology. 
    • Species interbreeds with each other, whereas a population is a group of one species that live within the same geographic area. 

    Challenges cited by the report  

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    • Habitat loss and barriers to migration routes were responsible for about half of the threats to monitored migratory fish species. 
    • WWF identified six key threats to biodiversity: agriculture, hunting, logging, pollution, invasive species and climate change to highlight ‘threat hotspots’ for terrestrial vertebrates.
    • Land-use change is still the biggest current threat to nature: destroying or fragmenting the natural habitats of many plant and animal species on land, in freshwater and in the sea. 
    • We are facing the double emergencies of human-induced climate change and biodiversity loss: threatening the well-being of current and future generations.
    • Many mangroves are degraded by overexploitation and pollution, alongside natural stressors such as storms and coastal erosion.
    • Climate change in India will impact key areas, such as water resources, agriculture, natural ecosystems, health and the food chain. 
    • Agriculture is the most prevalent threat to amphibians (animals that live both on land and in water), whereas hunting and trapping are most likely to threaten birds and mammals. 

    Way Forward

    • Interlink-age
      • The international wildlife conservation organisation said that the biodiversity loss and climate crisis should be dealt with as one instead of two different issues as they are intertwined. 
    • A nature-positive future 
      • It needs transformative, game-changing shifts in how we produce, how we consume, how we govern and what we finance. 
    • All-inclusive collective approach 
      • There is a need for an all-inclusive collective approach that can put us on a more sustainable path and ensures that the costs and benefits from our actions are socially just and equitably shared.

    Source: DTE