Main threats to wildlife populations around the world, by region

Distribution of the main regional threats to wildlife populations in the Living Planet Index

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Release date

October 2022



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

The Living Planet Index (LPI) tracks the abundance of almost 21,000 populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians around the world

Habitat loss and degradation:
This refers to changes in land or water use in the area where a species lives, leading to complete removal, fragmentation or reduction in quality of its key habitat. Common changes in land use are caused by unsustainable agriculture, logging, transportation, urban development, energy production and mining. For freshwater habitats, fragmentation of rivers and streams and abstraction of water are common threats.
Species overexploitation:
There are both direct and indirect forms of overexploitation. Direct overexploitation refers to unsustainable hunting and poaching or harvesting, whether for subsistence or for trade. Indirect overexploitation occurs when non-target species are killed unintentionally, for example as bycatch in fisheries.
Invasive species and disease:
Invasive species can compete with native species for space, food and other resources, can turn out to be a predator for native species, or spread diseases that were not previously present in the environment. Humans also transport new diseases from one area of the globe to another.
Pollution can directly affect a species by making the environment unsuitable for its survival (this is what happens, for example, in the case of an oil spill). It can also affect a species indirectly, by affecting food availability or reproductive performance, thus reducing population numbers over time.
Climate change:
As temperatures change, some species will need to adapt by shifting their range to track a suitable climate. The effects of climate change on species are often indirect. Changes in temperature can confound the signals that trigger seasonal events such as migration and reproduction, causing these events to happen at the wrong time (for example misaligning reproduction and the period of greater food availability in a specific habitat).

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