Biodiversity: Rich vs Poor

Biodiversity trends in high-, middle- and low-income countries are not the same.

The animal populations tracked by the global Living Planet Index can be divided into different country groups.
Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis), Madagascar; Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), China; Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica), Iceland
© R. Isotti, A. Cambone –Homo Ambiens / WWF; Michel Gunther / WWF; Wild Wonders of Europe/Orsolya Haarberg / WWF
Figure 32: The Living Planet Index by country income group The index shows a 5% increase in high-income countries, a 25% decline in middle-income countries, and a 58% decline in low income countries between 1970 and 2007. LPR2010
Country income groups as defined by the World Bank; click image for full size

What is the reason for this difference?

Biodiversity loss is largely driven by human activities related to the production and consumption of food, fibre, materials and energy.

The Ecological Footprint shows that consumption is much higher in high-income countries than in middle- and low-income countries. This consumption level is supported by international trade: that is, countries meet their demand for natural resources through imports from other countries.

The rapid decline in the Living Planet Index of middle- and low-income countries since 1970 suggests that biodiversity in these countries is suffering from the Footprint of the world's wealthiest countries. 
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.