Data

Living Planet Index by region

Zoological Society of London – WWF and Zoological Society of London
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What you should know about this indicator

  • The Living Planet Index summarizes the average change in population size of tens of thousands of studied animal populations. It distills this change into a single number, representing the average change in animal populations since 1970.
  • The Living Planet Index aggregates observations on changes in population size, and similar metrics, across tens of thousands of animal populations.
  • Its 2022 report included figures across 30,000 wildlife populations. This captures everything from frogs to elephant species, rhinos to owls, from every continent on Earth.
Learn more in the FAQs

The Living Planet Index (LPI) tracks changes in the relative abundance of wild species populations over time. The global Index is constructed by calculating an average trend for tens of thousands of terrestrial, freshwater and marine vertebrate populations from across the globe.

[Text from Living Planet Report 2022]

The data used in constructing the LPI are time-series of either population size, density (population size per unit area), abundance (number of individuals per sample) or a proxy of abundance (for example, the number of nests recorded may be used instead of a direct population count).

[Text from Living Planet Index website]

Living Planet Index by region Zoological Society of London – WWF and Zoological Society of London
The Living Planet Index (LPI) measures the average decline in monitored wildlife populations. The index value measures the change in abundance in 31,821 populations across 5,230 species relative to the year 1970 (i.e. 1970 = 100%).
Source
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Zoological Society of London (2022) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
September 1, 2023
Next expected update
August 2025
Date range
1970–2018
Unit
(1970 = 100%)
Unit conversion factor
100

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Living Planet Index (LPI) measure?

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.

What does the Living Planet Index (LPI) not measure?

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

What types of species are included?

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.

How many species does it cover? What is the geographical range of this coverage?

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.

Where does the data for the LPI come from?

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.

What does the LPI show?

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.

How sensitive is the LPI to outliers?

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.

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The Living Planet Database contains tens of thousands of vertebrate population time-series from around the world. It is the largest collection of its kind, and is publicly available, making it an invaluable tool for both research and conservation. This dataset contains time-series of population abundance data for vertebrate species spanning years between 1970 and 2021. This is the public version of the database as confidential records that cannot be shared have been removed. The open-source code used to calculate the Living Planet Index using this data set can be found here: https://github.com/Zoological-Society-of-London/rlpi. [Text from Living Planet Index website]

Retrieved on
September 1, 2023
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Zoological Society of London (2022). Living Planet Report 2022 – Building a nature-positive society. Almond, R.E.A., Grooten, M., Juffe Bignoli, D. & Petersen, T. (Eds). WWF, Gland, Switzerland.

How we process data at Our World in Data

All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

Read about our data pipeline

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Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Living Planet Index by region”, part of the following publication: Hannah Ritchie, Fiona Spooner and Max Roser (2022) - “Biodiversity”. Data adapted from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Zoological Society of London. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/living-planet-index-by-region [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Zoological Society of London (2022) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Zoological Society of London (2022) – processed by Our World in Data. “Living Planet Index by region – WWF and Zoological Society of London – Zoological Society of London” [dataset]. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Zoological Society of London, “Zoological Society of London” [original data]. Retrieved June 25, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/living-planet-index-by-region