A planet in decline
Then number of vertebrate species has declined by 52% between 1970 and 2010, this is measured using the Living Plant Index (LPI). This is according the the WWF living planet report 2014. This decline means that vertebrate populations have halved since 1970.
The LPI is divided into global areas, vertebrates are declining in the temperate and tropic regions, but with tropic regions showing a greater decline. In the temperate regions the LPI declined by 36% from 1970-2010, and in the tropic regions there was a decline by 56% during the same period.
Regions and decline (1970-2010):
- Nearctic (USA, Canada and Greenland) – Decreases in fish, amphibian and reptile populations, but increases in mammals and birds. On average populations decreased by 20% in this area.
- Neotropical (Central and South America) – Decreases in fish, amphibian, reptile and bird populations, but increases in mammals. This area showed a dramatic decline by 83%.
- Palearctic (Europe, North Africa, parts of the Middle East, Russia, China and Northern Asian areas) – Decreases in fish, amphibian and reptile population, an increases in bird and mammal populations. his area had an average decline of 30%.
- Afrotropical (Sub Saharan Africa and parts of the Middle East) – Declines in fish mammal populations, stable populations of amphibians and reptiles, and an increase in bird populations. This area showed an average decline of 19%.
- Indopacific (India, South East Asia and Australia) – Decreases in amphibian, reptile and bird populations, stable population of fish and increases in mammals. This area had an average decline of 67%.
Examples of species – Rhino and Tiger:
In Nepal tiger populations in protected areas rose by 63% between 2009-2013. This is attributed to anti poaching efforts and further protection for tigers.
For Rhinos however it is a different story, many populations have become extinct regionally. There are an estimated 20000 white rhinos and 5000 black rhinos remaining in the wild. There has been a loss in range, there has been efforts to reintroduce rhinos into areas where they were previously found. The black rhino remains at very high risk are are classed as critically endangered, whereas the white rhino is near threatened. There has been a decline of 63% in both species between 1980 and 2006, the majority of this decline was in the 80s and 90s. The biggest threat to rhinos is the illegal wildlife trade. Eighty percent of whinos are located in South Africa, the number of rhinos poached in this area has risen from 13 in 2007 to >1000 in 2013.
For the full article see: (Chapter 1) http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/living_planet_report_2014.pdf?_ga=1.175884390.516736622.1418484736