Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 1–14 | Cite as

Human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP) in Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Daniel W. O’NeillEmail author
  • Peter H. Tyedmers
  • Karen F. Beazley
Original Study


Photosynthetically fixed energy from the sun, in the form of net primary production, ultimately supports the majority of life on earth. Given the importance of this energy source, we calculate the human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP) for the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. We find that over 25% of potentially available production is appropriated by humans through harvest (forestry and agriculture) and land cover change. The level of appropriation in Nova Scotia is close to the global average, when methodological differences between studies are taken into account, but substantially less than in Austria and India where detailed surveys have also been conducted. Furthermore, HANPP is not distributed evenly throughout the province, but is instead concentrated in the north-central counties, where appropriation reaches 50%. We discuss the implications of these results, and the novel method used to obtain them, in the context of biophysical assessment and the species-energy hypothesis.


Net primary production (NPP) Biophysical indicators Land use/land cover change Nova Scotia Human ecology 



We would like to thank Jane Liu and the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing for providing the NPP data used in this analysis. We are grateful to James Boxall and Jennifer Milne for additional spatial data, and Barb McLaughlin, Ralph Martin, Jack van Roestel, Mahesh Kashyap, Jennifer Roach, and Scott MacEwan for statistical data related to forestry and agriculture. We thank Helmut Haberl, Karl-Heinz Erb, Fridolin Krausmann, and Pierre Bernier for their helpful correspondence. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for their input. This research was supported by funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Izaak Walton Killam Trust.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel W. O’Neill
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter H. Tyedmers
    • 1
  • Karen F. Beazley
    • 1
  1. 1.School for Resource and Environmental StudiesDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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