• Vaclav Smil
Part of the Modern Perspectives in Energy book series (IASS)


The richness is overwhelming—more than 200,000 terrestrial macrophyta, many thousands of aquatic plants and marine algae linked in intriguing complexities of energy, water, and nutrient flows with their environment, with each other, and with a multitude of heterotrophs ranging from decay microorganisms to large ungulates to man—but the genesis is always the same, starting with gravity fusing hydrogen nuclei within the star holding us in orbit, with solar radiation bridging the distance of roughly 150 million km in little over 8 min. A bit less than one-half of the total radiant flux is finally absorbed by the earth’s surfaces, with about the same fraction of it being on the right wavelength to set into motion an amazing process within the chloroplasts of green plants which sustains all life on this planet.


Photosynthetically Active Radiation Tropical Rain Forest Biomass Energy Industrial Civilization Annual Solar Radiation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vaclav Smil
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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