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Rajya Sabha TV: In Depth – Biodiversity Report

Rajya Sabha TV: In Depth – Biodiversity Report




The Living Planet Report, 2018 by World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) presents a grim picture of the impact human activity has on the world’s wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers and climate. It is felt that the world has begun a “sixth mass extinction,” but it will be the first caused by a species – humans.

Logo of World Wildlife Fund for Nature


  • It is published every 2 years by WWF, first published in
  • It is based on the ‘Living Planet Index’ and ‘Ecological footprint calculations’.
  • The ‘Living Planet Index’ is an indicator of the state of global biological diversity managed by Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and WWF.
  • Ecological footprint is the biologically productive area needed to provide for everything used by people: fruits and vegetables, fish, wood, fibres, absorption of CO2 from fossil fuels use, and space for buildings and roads. It is currently developed by Global Footprint Network (an independent think-tank). The GHG footprint and carbon footprint are a component of Ecological Footprint.
  • Humanity’s Ecological Footprint for 2014 was 1.7 planet Earth’s. This meant that humanity’s demands were 1.7 times faster than what the Earth’s ecosystems renewed.
  • It is a science-based analysis on the health of Earth and the impact of human activity.
  • The 2018 report has found a decline of 60% in population sizes of vertebrate species from 1970 to 2014. The tropics of South and Central America had an 89% loss compared to 1970.
  • Issues like Ocean acidification, loss of corals, increasing Carbon in the atmosphere, species disappearance due to habitat loss and degradation, etc are highlighted in the 2018 report.
  • Increasing use of plastics that ultimately reaches the oceans and seas via rivers is also a cause for deaths of marine organisms.
  • The latest report calls for new goals post-2020 alongside Convention on Biological Diversity, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.


  • It is an international non-governmental organisation founded in
  • It works in the field of the wilderness preservation, and the reduction of the human impact on the environment.
  • It has its Headquarters in Switzerland.
  • Other notable global environmental organisations are the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Greenpeace and the Friends of the Earth.
  • Earth Hour is a movement organized by WWF annually to turn off non-essential lights for 1 hour on a space day.


  • It is an Act of Parliament of India enacted for protection of plants and animal species.
  • It extends to whole of India except Jammu & Kashmir.
  • It has 6 schedules which give varying degree of protection.
  • Various other Acts like Air Act (1981), Environment Protection Act (1986), Biological Diversity Act (2002), National Green Tribunal Act (2010), etc have been enacted in subsequent years in India which aim at protecting the overall environment.



Human civilization in its thirst for progress has seen many developments starting from the Stone Age. But the process has also resulted in reckless destruction of environment on this living planet – Earth. This is highlighted in the Living Plant Report, 2018 and various measures need to be taken and followed up by individuals, nations and intergovernmental organisations to protect the environment on Earth.


1.(PRELIMS 2014)

Consider the following statements regarding ‘Earth Hour’

  1. It is an initiative of UNEP and
  2. It is a movement in which the participants switch off the lights for one hour on a certain day every year.
  3. It is a movement to raise the awareness about the climate change and the need to save the planet.

Which of the statements given above is / are correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

2.(PRELIMS 2017)

In India, if a species of tortoise is declared protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, what does it imply?

(a)It enjoys the same level of protection as the tiger
(b) It no longer exists in the wild, a few individuals are under captive protection; and now it is impossible to prevent its extinction.
(c) It is endemic to a particular region of India.
(d) Both (b) and (c) stated above are correct in this context.

3.(PRELIMS 2018)

The term “sixth mass extinction/sixth extinction” is often mentioned in the news in the context of the discussion of 

  1. Widespread monoculture practices in agriculture and large-scale commercial farming with indiscriminate use of chemicals in many parts of the world that may result in the loss of good native ecosystems.
  2. Fears of a possible collision of a meteorite with the Earth in the near future in the manner it happened 65 million years ago that caused the mass extinction of many species including those of dinosaurs.
  3. Large scale cultivation of genetically modified crops in many parts of the world and promoting their cultivation in other parts of the world which may cause the disappearance of good native crop plants and the loss of food biodiversity.
  4. Mankind’s over-exploitation/misuse of natural resources, fragmentation/loss of natural habitats, destruction of ecosystems, pollution and global climate change.