European impact on productivity

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Fossil fuel based, mechanized, extractive economies are a bit like glacial and volcanic action, bringing new components from deeper layers to the earth's surface.

Because of this, since 1788, continental biomass, or "net primary productivity," has probably increased by around 5-7 percent.33 This increase has been restricted mostly to about one-quarter of the country's surface area, mainly in the southeast. Based on this 5-7 percent range and the location of intensive production in Australia, it seems reasonable to suppose that net primary productivity has been concentrated and therefore increased in this more fertile quarter of the continent by about 20 percent, and that productivity in the most fertile 4 percent would have increased by over 100 percent, mostly due to fossil fuel based synthetic fertilizers, irrigation pumps, and fuel-burning engines for machinery and transport.34

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