LAHORE - With the international launch of WWF’s Living Planet Report 2014, an important message has been delivered to every country to adopt Earth-friendly solutions as threats to the natural environment mount. Those solutions are urgently needed as critical wildlife populations show sharp declines in the WWF report released on Tuesday.

According to the report, global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have declined by 52 per cent in a 40-year period measured in the current edition. The decline of biodiversity in the wider Asia-Pacific region ranks only behind Latin America in the same period.

The Living Planet Report 2014 also shows Ecological Footprint - a measure of humanity's demands on nature - continuing its upward climb. In Pakistan, due to a decline in biodiversity, increases in population and growing per capita consumption is an exponential increase in the country’s Ecological Footprint. Taken together, biodiversity loss and an unsustainable footprint threaten natural systems and human well-being, but can also point us toward actions to reverse current trends.

Globally, humanity's demand on the planet is more than 50pc larger than what nature can renew, meaning it would take 1.5 Earths to produce the resources necessary to support current Ecological Footprint.

Talking to the newsmen, WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said “Pakistan is adversely affected by illegal wildlife trade which has deeply impacted our biodiversity. Smuggling of freshwater turtles, pangolins, and black scorpions are a growing concern as well as rising rates of deforestation. We are committed to overcome these challenges and support sustainable development in Pakistan”. Increasing deforestation has contributed to increased threats for species such as the common leopard which is fast losing its habitat.

Furthermore, Pakistan is experiencing a steady rise in carbon emissions, which contributes to global issues such as climate change and global warming. A recent World Bank study on air pollution highlighted that air pollution in Pakistan is among the world’s most severe, significantly damaging human health, quality of life, and the economy and environment.

Biggest recorded global threats to biodiversity are habitat loss and degradation, fishing and hunting, and climate change. For the thousands of species tracked by the report, tropical regions show a 56pc loss across populations compared to 36pc in temperate zones.

The Living Planet Report 2014 is released as the majority of human population lives in cities. Urban areas worldwide are responsible for more than 70pc of the planet's energy-related carbon emissions but they also have the potential to become centres of renewable energy production and energy efficiency, according to the report.

Delinking the relationship between footprint and development is a key priority indicated in the Living Planet Report 2014. Research presented in the report shows that it is possible to increase living standards while restraining resource use.