For those unfamiliar, the Earth’s biomass is basically the weight of every living organism on the planet, which means that the amount of human-made materials is now heavier than all of the Earth’s living organisms combined! That’s a pretty insane thing to think about, especially when you consider that back in 1900, human-made mass was only 3% of the Earth’s biomass, which means that in a little over 100 years, the amount of human-made produce has grown tremendously.
According to the authors of the study, “While modern agriculture utilizes an increasing land area for growing crops, the total mass of domesticated crops is vastly outweighed by the loss of plant mass resulting from deforestation, forest management and other land-use changes. These trends in global biomass have affected the carbon cycle and human health. Additional human actions, including livestock husbandry, hunting and overfishing, have also strongly affected the masses of various other taxa.”
Researchers have also estimated that if human production were to continue at its current rate, by 2040, the weight of human-made materials will exceed 3 teratonnes.