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WWF 2012 Living Planet report

WWF has published its latest biennial report on the state of the planet in time for the Rio+20 summit in June. 

The Living Planet Report’s findings are based on two key indicators: 

  • The Living Planet Index – this measures changes in the health of the planet’s ecosystems by tracking post-1970 trends of more than 9,000 populations of 2,688 vertebrate species.
  • The Ecological Footprint – an accounting framework that tracks humanity’s competing demands on the biosphere by comparing human demand against the regenerative capacity of the planet. The human demand is translated into global hectares (gha) – hectares that represent average global production and CO2 sequestration.
  • The report finds that biodiversity has declined globally by around 30 per cent between 1970 and 2008; by 60 per cent in the tropics. Demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966 and we are currently using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to support our activities. High-income countries have a footprint five times greater than that of low-income countries. Areas of high biodiversity provide important ecosystem services such as carbon storage, fuel wood, freshwater flow and marine fish stocks. The loss of biodiversity and related ecosystem services particularly impacts the world’s poorest peoples who rely most directly on these services to survive. “Business as usual” projections estimate that we will need the equivalent of two planets by 2030 to meet our annual demands. Natural capital – biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services – must be preserved and, where necessary, restored as the foundation of human economies and societies. We can reduce our footprint by producing more with less, and consuming better, wiser and less.
  • Key recommendations are that we:
  • Preserve natural capital
  • Produce better
  • Consume more wisely
  • Redirect financial flows
  • Govern resources equitably
  • To download the report, various summaries and associated materials see here.



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