The latest biennial report on the state of species produced in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, measures the health of 2,500 different species worldwide. The report uses the Living Planet Index as a measure of the health of 8,000 populations of more than 2,500 species. The Global Index shows a decrease by 30 percent since 1970, with a 60 percent decline in tropic species in less than 40 years. The rate of biodiversity loss is alarming in low-income tropical countries. While the report shows some promising recovery by species’ populations in temperate areas, thanks in part to greater conservation efforts and improvements in pollution and waste control, tracked populations of freshwater tropical species have fallen by nearly 70 per cent — greater than any species’ decline measured on land or in our oceans. “Species are the foundation of ecosystems,” said Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Program Director with the Zoological Society of London. “Healthy ecosystems form the basis of all we have — lose them and we destroy our life support system.” The Ecological Footprint, one of the indicators used in the report, shows that our demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966 and we’re using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to support our activities. If we continue living beyond the Earth’s limits, by 2030 we’ll need the equivalent of two planets’ productive capacity to meet our annual demands.
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