Fellows in the News
Posted by Cora Preston on Tuesday, November 22 2022

Fellows:

Rebecca Shaw

Monitored wildlife populations - mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish - have seen a devastating 69% drop on average since 1970, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report (LPR) 2022. The report highlights the stark outlook of the state of nature and urgently warns governments, businesses and the public to take transformative action to reverse the destruction of biodiversity. The percentage change in the index reflects the average proportional change in animal population sizes tracked over 48 years - not the number of individual animals lost nor the number of populations lost.

“The Living Planet Index is really a contemporary view on the health of the populations that underpin the functioning of nature across the planet,” Rebecca Shaw, chief scientist at WWF and an author of the report, said to the New York Times

The New York Times story Researchers Report a Staggering Decline in Wildlife. Here’s How to Understand It provides a comprehensive breakdown of how to interpret these alarming results. The WWF report website offers key findings, poetry, resources for learners and a podcast where Shaw breaks down the results.

The Living Planet Index (LPI) is based on trends of thousands of population time series collected from monitored sites around the world. This online portal allows you to search, download and contribute data.

The LPI website states that it was adopted by the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) as an indicator of progress towards its 2011-2020 targets and can play an important role in monitoring progress towards the post-2020 goals and targets negotiated at COP15 this December. 

The New York Times writes that "in December, the nations of the world will gather to try to reach a new agreement to safeguard the planet’s biodiversity. The last one mostly failed to meet its targets. The Living Planet report offers evidence for how to succeed this time, Dr. Shaw said. A critical lesson is that conservation doesn’t work without the support of local communities."

“When we get really focused conservation efforts that incorporate the community, that have the communities stewarding the outcomes because they benefit from it, we see that it is possible to have increases in populations,” she said. “Which is really the bright spot.”

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