Living Planet Index by region
What you should know about this indicator
Related research and writing
Frequently Asked Questions
The Living Planet Index (LPI) provides a measure of wildlife abundance. It measures the average relative decline in population size since 1970 across a wide range of species.
The Living Planet Index does not measure:
- Number of species lost
- Number of populations or individuals that have been lost
- Number or percentage of species or populations that are declining
- Number of extinctions
Only vertebrate species are included in the LPI: this includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Only a small percentage (8%) of known species in these groups are included, and only some populations of these species are represented in the LPI.
Although it is one of the most comprehensive datasets for monitoring biodiversity trends, the LPI still only captures a small sample of global biodiversity. For example, insects, corals, fungi and plants are not included.
In its latest report, published in 2022, 31,821 populations across 5,230 species were included. It includes species and populations across all continents. However, there is a geographic bias in the data, with areas with higher levels of biodiversity monitoring, such as North America and Europe being overrepresented, and areas where biodiversity is richest, like the tropical regions, being underrepresented.
The underlying data for the LPI comes from a combination of published scientific articles, online databases and government reports. To be included, data points must contain a time series of vertebrate populations spanning any number of years from 1970 onwards.
The latest results from the LPI indicate an average decline in the studied wildlife populations of 69% between 1970 and 2018.
Note that this does not mean that we have lost 69% of wildlife over this period. For a clear example of why this is the wrong conclusion, and how the LPI is calculated, see our example here.
The impact of extreme population declines and increases on the calculation of the global LPI (Living Planet Index) has been tested by removing these outliers from the dataset. Although there were slight variations in the results, the overall trend of the global LPI remained very similar, suggesting that extreme declines and increases do not significantly influence the trend of the index.
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