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Aerial view of Hardy Reef, home to the Heart Reef, Great Barrier Reef  © WWF-Aus / Christian Miller

Aerial view of Hardy Reef, home to the Heart Reef, Great Barrier Reef © WWF-Aus / Christian Miller

Living Planet Report

We’re all connected

Since 1998, The Living Planet Report has been tracking the state of global biodiversity.

 

This year’s edition provides a platform for the best science, cutting-edge research and diverse voices on the impact of humans on the health of our Earth. More than 50 experts from academia, policy, international development and conservation organisations have contributed. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 shows the scale of the challenge – and highlights what we can do, both here in Australia and around the world, to change the way we live.

 

The future of the planet is in our hands.

 

Key findings from 2020 include:

  • Global wildlife populations fell by 68%, on average, between 1970 and 2016, while some Australian populations plummeted by up to 97%.

  • Causes of biodiversity loss – deforestation, unsustainable agriculture, and the illegal wildlife trade – are also contributing to the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19.

  • Humanity’s influence on the decline of nature is so great that scientists believe we are entering a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

  • Australia’s Bramble Cay melomys features as the first known mammal extinction to be linked directly to climate change.

  • The report outlines how, with the right conservation effort, commitment, investment and expertise, species can be brought back from the brink. An example outlined in the report explains how following the creation of a marine protected area, the relative abundance of the grey reef shark increased by more than 360% between 2004 and 2016 on Ashmore Reef in Western Australia.

  • The report includes the latest findings measured by the Living Planet Index tracking 21,000 populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish since 1970. This includes more than 1100 populations in Australia, with almost all showing continual declines. 

Koala mother and joey seeking refuge on a bulldozed logpile © Briano / WWF-Aus

Australia's extinction crisis

Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate of any country in the world, and the bushfires of summer 2019-20 have only made it much worse.

 

Over 12 million hectares of vital bushland and habitat were destroyed in the fires that swept across our country and nearly 3 billion animals were impacted by the blazes.

 

But we have a once-in-10-year opportunity to turn things around for our struggling Aussie wildlife.

 

This is our chance to end animal extinction.
 

Young children play in Dhoteri, Nepal © James Morgan  / WWF-US

Toward a resilient future

But if humans can change the planet so profoundly, then it’s also in our power to put things right. That will require new ways of thinking, smarter methods of producing, wiser consumption and new systems of finance and governance.

The Living Planet Report provides possible solutions – including the fundamental changes required in the global food, energy and finance systems to meet the needs of current and future generations.

Downloadable assets

Living Planet Report 2020: Full report Living Planet Report 2020: Summary

Did you know?

Over the past 100 years, humans have played an important role in changing the Earth's ecosystems. To mark this new era in Earth’s history, experts introduced the “Anthropocene”, the Age of Humans.

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