Trend fauna - all species monitored - Living Planet Index Netherlands, 1990-2021

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The Living Planet Index of the Netherlands has increased with 2.2% since 1990. The trend has decreased over the past twelve years.

Trends in species groups

The Living Planet Index of the Netherlands reflects the average trend of 351 species of mammals, breeding birds, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, dragonflies and fresh water fish together. Since 1990, this indicator has increased by 2.2%, mainly because, during this period, mammal, reptile and dragonfly populations have grown. Over the past twelve years, the average trend of all species together has decreased a bit. The indicator reflects an average trend; various species and/or groups of species, in particular amphibians and butterflies show a downward trend.

Global LPI

The global LPI (WWF 2020; see second tab page) includes population data on more than 4000 vertebrates (mammals, breeding birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish). In the period 1970-2016, the global LPI decreased by 68% and also after 1990, (the start of the Dutch time series), the trend is still downwards. So, the marginally upward trend in the Netherlands observed since 1990 and the subsequent stabilisation are at odds with the overall global trend.
If the LPI is broken down by groups of countries with different income levels (according to World Bank criteria), it turns out that the LPI has risen in high-income countries (by 9.7 % over the period 1970-2010; WWF 2014), which is similar to the Dutch trend. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the increase is an indication of recovery after severe loss of biodiversity, which partly occurred prior to 1970 and the increase proves that restoration of natural environment is possible because nowadays rich countries are prepared to mobilise more financial resources for projects to restore natural environment. Furthermore, goods are often imported from low-income countries and these low-income countries also suffer the negative effects on biodiversity of massive production of goods.

EU protected species

To see the effect of protective measures, the LPI was calculated again without the species that are protected under the EU Birds- and Habitats Directive (see third tab page). The LPI without protected species decreased by approximately 10 percent in the period 1990-2021. Of 290 included species, 125 increased and 127 decreased in population. This indicates that the protected species in the LPI on average have a positive influence on the average trend. However, it must be stressed that only about 25% of species under the Habitats Directive have a favorable conservation status.

LPI in the Environmental Data Compendium

The Living Planet Index (LPI) is the average trend of all species for which sufficient data is available to calculate trends with. The rationale of the LPI is that the more species show negative population trends and the stronger the overall decrease is, the more deplorable the state of nature is (and vice versa). The LPI is widely used in the international context to describe changes in biodiversity over time. In the Environmental Data Compendium it is one of the indicators to describe trends in biodiversity in the Netherlands, covering parts of the biodiversity concept. Other biodiversity indicators capture complementary aspects of biodiversity.
The Dutch LPI represents the development of populations of native species for the Netherlands, excluding species of marine and brackish habitats. In 2017, the marine LPI has been further developed, and extended with trends of birds, benthos and fish of the North Sea, the South-West delta, the coast and the Wadden region. These trends are not yet incorporated into the overall Dutch LPI.
In 2017 a study was published on the strong decrease in total insect biomass in German protected areas bordering the Netherlands. It is still unclear to what extent such a decline has occurred in the Netherlands too. Although two insect groups have been incorporated in the Dutch LPI (of which one shows an increase in average population trend and the other one a decrease), adding more insect groups may have a negative impact on the overall trend.
Apart from average trends per species group, LPI can also be used as a signalling tool for change in ecosystem quality. The quality in this case is measured in terms of presence/abundance of species typically associated with certain habitats, so called habitat specialists. If the LPI is broken down by ecosystem, it appears that the increase of the overall LPI is mainly attributable to population increases of species typically associated with fresh water and marshlands. In woodlands, the LPI shows an increase too. In farmland and open natural areas (heathland, dunes and semi-natural grassland), the average trend of the habitat specialists decreased, sometimes strongly.


Technical explanation

Naam van het gegeven
Verantwoordelijk instituut
Geografische verdeling

Reference of this webpage

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2024). Trend fauna - all species monitored - Living Planet Index Netherlands, 1990-2021 (indicator 1569, version 08,

) Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.