The Azimuth Project
Biomass (Rev #2)

Contents

Idea

As defined by Wikipedia:

Biomass, in ecology, is the mass of living biological organisms in a given area or ecosystem at a given time. Biomass can refer to species biomass, which is the mass of one or more species, or to community biomass, which is the mass of all species in the community. It can include microorganisms, plants or animals.[4] The mass can be expressed as the average mass per unit area, or as the total mass in the community.

How biomass is measured depends on why it is being measured. Sometimes the biomass is regarded as the natural mass of organisms in situ, just as they are. For example, in a salmon fishery, the salmon biomass might be regarded as the total wet weight the salmon would have if they were taken out of the water. In other contexts, biomass can be measured in terms of the dried organic mass, so perhaps only 30% of the actual weight might count, the rest being water. For other purposes, only biological tissues count, and teeth, bones and shells are excluded.

In stricter scientific applications, biomass is measured as the mass of organically bound carbon (C) that is present. The total live biomass on earth is about 560 billion tonnes C,[1] and the total annual primary production of biomass is just over 100 billion tonnes C/yr.[5]

forest

The total global live biomass has been estimated as 560 billion tonnes C,[1] most of which is found in forests.[2]

References

category: ecology