September 30, 2014 07:00 ET

Solutions Still in Reach as World Biodiversity Suffers Major Decline

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - September 30, 2014) - Global wildlife populations have declined by more than half in just 40 years as measured in WWF's Living Planet Report 2014. Wildlife's continued decline highlights the need for sustainable solutions to heal the planet, according to the report released today.

The Living Planet Report 2014 also shows Ecological Footprint -- a measure of humanity's demands on nature -- continuing its upward climb. Taken together, biodiversity loss and unsustainable footprint threaten natural systems and human well-being, but can also point us toward actions to reverse current trends.

"Healthy nature is the foundation of a healthy economy. Canada's long-term prosperity depends on balancing our economic and ecological health and securing Canada's true wealth, our environmental riches. We have an opportunity to lead the way, reducing our footprint and moving towards a more sustainable future. As the Living Planet Report shows, now is the moment for us to work together for a better future, where people and nature can both thrive."
- David Miller, President and CEO, WWF-Canada

 "Biodiversity is a crucial part of the systems that sustain life on Earth -- and the barometer of what we are doing to this planet, our only home. We urgently need bold global action in all sectors of society to build a more sustainable future. It is essential that we seize the opportunity -- while we still can -- to develop sustainably and create a future where people can live and prosper in harmony with nature."
- Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International

The Living Planet Report
The Living Planet Report 2014 is the tenth edition of WWF's biennial flagship publication. With the theme Species and Spaces, People and Places, the report tracks over 10,000 vertebrate species populations from 1970 to 2010 through the Living Planet Index -- a database maintained by the Zoological Society of London. The report's measure of humanity's Ecological Footprint is provided by the Global Footprint Network.

This year's Living Planet Index features updated methodology that more accurately tracks global ecosystems and species, and provides a clearer picture of the health of our natural environment. While the findings reveal that the state of the world's species is worse than in previous reports, the results also put finer focus on available solutions.

Critical wildlife declines

  • Populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have declined by 52 per cent since 1970.
  • Freshwater species have suffered a 76 per cent decline, an average loss almost double that of land and marine species.
  • The biggest recorded threat to species and their habitats comes from the combined impacts of habitat loss and degradation.
  • Climate change is becoming increasingly worrisome, with research cited in the report finding that climate change is already responsible for the possible extinction of species.

Ecological Footprint increases

  • Humanity's demand on the planet is more than 50 per cent larger than what nature can renew.
  • It would take 1.5 Earths to produce the resources necessary to support our current global Ecological Footprint. If everyone on Earth lived as the typical Canadian does, we'd need 3.7 planets to support our demand.
  • Canada has the 11th largest per capita Ecological Footprint. The 10 countries with the largest per capita Ecological Footprints are: Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore, United States of America, Bahrain and Sweden.
  • Completion of a global agreement that clears the way to a low carbon economy is essential given that fossil fuel use is currently the dominant factor in Ecological Footprint.

The complete report, summary and support material can be found at

About WWF
WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive.

About Zoological Society of London
Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Our mission is realised through our groundbreaking science, our active conservation projects in more than 50 countries and our two zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. For more information visit

About Global Footprint Network
Global Footprint Network promotes the science of sustainability by advancing the Ecological Footprint, a resource accounting tool that makes sustainability measurable. Together with its partners, the Network works to further improve and implement this science by coordinating research, developing methodological standards, and providing decision-makers with robust resource accounts to help the human economy operate within the Earth's ecological limits.

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