As seen in the previous topic on energy transfer, plants produce a great deal of energy which is used up increasingly at every trophic level. This is the basis on which decisions are made in agriculture and rearing of domestic livestock.
In the wild, both plants and animals are subject to a lot of energy loss due to pests, physical activity or insufficient nutrients. This results in a relatively inefficient flow of energy between trophic levels. We think of this in terms of net productivity.
Net productivity is equal to gross productivity minus respiratory loss.
In both terms, productivity refers to the amount of leftover useful tissue such as cereals or animal flesh.
As opposed to the wild, in human-made growth environments this respiratory loss is kept as low as possible. Extreme measures are taken to achieve this, which…