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# Human biomass vs. non-human biomass

I'm looking for an S-curve. The abscissa is to be time, perhaps reverse logarithmic: 1 year ago, 10 years ago...100,000 years ago. The ordinate is to be the reciprocal of this ratio:

THE TOTAL BIOMASS OF PLANET EARTH

divided by

THE TOTAL BIOMASS OF HUMANS, COWS, PIGS, SHEEP, CHICKENS, GOATS, SALMON, CATS, DOGS etc.

John Baez wrote me a few years ago that it would not be difficult to estimate these things but I am at a loss. Please try to help or forward to someone who can. (My motive is this: I have for decades held it essential that neo-Malthusians like myself corral the anti-neo-Malthusians and beg: "What set of circumstances must obtain for you to behold our Earth and attest to Failure?" I think this S-curve the most powerful means to that end.)

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1.
edited February 2013

The total biomass is dominated by prokaryotes and plants. 1000 billion tons is a ballpark estimate, though estimates are hard to do. See eg http://www.pnas.org/content/95/12/6578.full and http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/08/14/1203849109.abstract

Meanwhile http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomass_%28ecology%29 says humans compose 100 million tons. I doubt humans plus domesticated animals reaches one billion tons, or .001 of the total.

The animal species with the biggest biomass is antarctic krill.

Comment Source:The total biomass is dominated by prokaryotes and plants. 1000 billion tons is a ballpark estimate, though estimates are hard to do. See eg [http://www.pnas.org/content/95/12/6578.full](http://www.pnas.org/content/95/12/6578.full) and [http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/08/14/1203849109.abstract](http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/08/14/1203849109.abstract) Meanwhile [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomass_%28ecology%29](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomass_%28ecology%29) says humans compose 100 million tons. I doubt humans plus domesticated animals reaches one billion tons, or .001 of the total. The animal species with the biggest biomass is antarctic krill.
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2.

John Stark: please only capitalize the very first letter in titles of posts here. Using all capitals makes it look like you're shouting; this behavior will make many people guess you're a crackpot.

Comment Source:John Stark: please only capitalize the very first letter in titles of posts here. Using all capitals makes it look like you're shouting; this behavior will make many people guess you're a crackpot.
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3.
edited February 2013

It must be fairly easy to look up information on the total population of humans, cows, pigs, sheep and other domesticated mammals and multiply these figures by rough figures for their masses, to estimate the total biomass of each of these species. It would take a few days of work, I suspect.

Maybe even more interesting for neo-Malthusians is this Wikipedia quote from their article on Primary production:

... in general there is a NPP (= net primary production) reduction due to land changes of 9.6% across global land-mass. In addition to this, end consumption by people raises the total human appropriation of net primary production to 23.8% of potential vegetation. It is estimated that, in 2000, 34% of the Earth's ice-free land area (12% cropland; 22% pasture) was devoted to human agriculture.

They give some references for these figures, which I've omitted here.

Comment Source:It must be fairly easy to look up information on the total population of humans, cows, pigs, sheep and other domesticated mammals and multiply these figures by rough figures for their masses, to estimate the total biomass of each of these species. It would take a few days of work, I suspect. Maybe even more interesting for neo-Malthusians is this Wikipedia quote from their article on [Primary production](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_production): > ... in general there is a NPP (= net primary production) reduction due to land changes of 9.6% across global land-mass. In addition to this, end consumption by people raises the total human appropriation of net primary production to 23.8% of potential vegetation. It is estimated that, in 2000, 34% of the Earth's ice-free land area (12% cropland; 22% pasture) was devoted to human agriculture. They give some references for these figures, which I've omitted here.