Revised 24 May 2019

The Net Community Production (NCP) available to humankind as a food and energy source is that share of the Net Primary Production or net phytomass which humankind shares alongside with other herbivores. Humankind is concerned with maximising food and energy resources by maximising the NPP/GPP and the NCP/GPP ratios. 

If humans wish to maximise food and energy resources, then humans should remain exclusively herbivores and feed directly off plants and use sustainable phytomass as fuel alongside with hydro-electricity and other solar based energy sources. In doing so, humankind would be sharing the available net phytomass alongside other herbivores. 

A question arises as to whether humankind should attempt to succeed other herbivores. It is improbable that humankind will ever succeed bacteria and insects by taking over their share of the net phytomass which is available. However, humankind has caused birds and animals to become extinct at a faster rate than normally occurs within nature. Assume that humankind does monopolise a larger share of the available phytomass. Would humankind be able to return all necessary nutrients back to the soil? For humankind to attempt its own monoculture of species would be to upset the balance of nutrient and energy cycles resulting in succession of humankind by lower order species. Humankind needs to live in harmony with plants, animals, insects, birds, fish, and bacteria in order to survive. In striking a balance between food consumption and energy consumption from phytomass together with other forms of solar energy collection, we need to understand more fully the patterns of energy flows within ecosystems and, in particular, our own energy flows and their impact on the environment.