Living vs Human-Made Mass

Does global human-made mass exceed all living biomass?

10 mins
What is it about?



Nature (Journal)

The face of the earth in the 21st century is affected by the activity of humans and the accumulation of human-made objects like never before. Due to the seemingly endless nature of the natural world, it can be difficult to see the balance between the living and human-made mass. A holistic picture that quantifies and compares the composition of the world in terms of both biological and human-made mass is missing.
Human mass only makes up roughly 0.1% of global biomass, and yet, even 3000 years ago our civilization had already had a substantial and diverse impact on it. Since the first agricultural revolution, humanity has roughly halved the mass of plants. While modern agriculture uses an increasing amount of land, the total mass of domesticated crops is vastly outweighed by the loss of plant mass due to deforestation, forest management, and other land-use changes.