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.
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Living Planet Index by country income group: The index shows a 7% increase in high-income countries, a 31% decline in middle-income countries and a 60% decline in low-income countries between 1970 and 2008
© WWF/ZSL, 2012

Living Planet Index by country income group

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.

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