, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 347-356

Primary production: Freshwater ecosystems

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Freshwater bodies include a small fraction of the earth's surface (0.5%) and the biosphere's production. Freshwater productivity is difficult to estimate because of both problems of measurement and the great diversity of water bodies. A total production of 1.3×10 9 tons/year is suggested. Freshwater bodies are now subject to widespread unnatural fertilization or cultural eutrophication. While this process increases their productivity, in many cases it shifts that productivity into forms less suitable for use as human food.

This paper was presented at the symposium, “The Primary Production of the Biosphere,” given at the Second Congress of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, Miami, Florida, October 24, 1971.