Total biomass of wild vs domesticated land animals?

Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment

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Total biomass of wild vs domesticated land animals?

Post by KunstUndUmwelt » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:04 pm

Dear all,
Firstly, I'm new to this forum so please remind me if I have misunderstood any of the rules.

I am an artist preparing an exhibition in a Berlin gallery highlighting how the whole planet is turning into a huge food production system for us humans, squeezing all other animals to the side. What gave me the original impetus was when I stumbled upon some figures for the ratio humans+domesticated animals vs wild land vertebrates. It was something like this: Humans 40 megatons Carbon, domesticated land animals 100 megatons C, wild land vertebrates 5 megatons C. (Smil 2002, 186,283-234). Figures like these are chocking to anyone who understands numbers, but for a lot of people it never becomes more than figures. This is where I as an artist come in of course, being able to visualize figures and showing people what we are doing to the earth around us.

However, for me to do this in a believable way I think it is important for me to have as reliable as possible sources. What I find problematic with the figures I have found on the net is
1.that the lists show very different figures (understandable given how hard the estimates must be).
2.that the lists don't include (of course) the categories I happen to be interested in.
3.some of the lists are old (70's etc) and I bet a lot of things have changed on this front since then.
4.different writers list different biomass criteria, Carbon, mass, etc.
5.links on the web hinting at having more info is only available to scientific institutions.

What I am looking for is a list showing the proportion in megatonnes biomass between (ideally),
Total domesticated animals
Goats and Sheep
Total wild land vertebrates and avians.

I would greatly appreciate anyone pointing me in the right direction.

All the best, Tobias

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