“Freshwater habitats – such as lakes, rivers and wetlands – carry immense importance for life on Earth. Freshwater accounts for only 0.01 per cent of the world’s water and covers approximately 0.8 per cent of the Earth’s surface (Dudgeon et al., 2006) but provides a habitat for almost 10 per cent of the world’s known species (Balian et al., 2008). Because humans and almost every living being require water, these habitats command high economic, cultural, aesthetic, recreational and educational value.
Freshwater habitats are challenging to conserve as they are strongly aﬀected by the modifcation of their river basins as well as by direct impacts from dams, pollution, invasive aquatic species and unsustainable water extractions. Further, they often cross administrative and political boundaries so they require extra eﬀort for collaborative forms of protection. Several studies have found that species living in freshwater habitats are faring worse than terrestrial species (Collen, et al., 2014; Cumberlidge et al., 2009).
The freshwater LPI substantiates this fnding, showing that on average the abundance of populations monitored in the freshwater system has declined overall by 81 per cent between 1970 and 2012 , with an average annual decline of 3.9 per cent. These figures are based on data for 3,324 monitored populations of 881 freshwater species.”
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