Pyramid of Biomass – Definition and Examples
Pyramid of biomass is the relationship between biomass, numbers, productivity or bio-energy of various trophic levels within an ecosystem is depicted by a simple pyramid called the functional pyramid or Eltonian pyramid. The functional pyramids depict the biomass flow within the system. On the left side of the pyramid you find the primary sources of biomass which include plant and animal matter; they are usually from living things such as wood and paper. These materials cannot be used for energy because they are not living.
What is Biomass
This question may have entered your mind if you are concerned about the environmental state of the world we live in. A biomass is basically any organic material that can be formed from living things. The most common examples of biomass are plant material, including wood, agricultural products and residues from farms, trees, or woods. Some people even use the word biomass and eco-fuel interchangeably, since biomass technically can also be used as a valid fuel.
Biomass Energy, A Renewable Source of Energy
The burning of fossil fuels for energy has considerably depletes the non-renewable source of fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gas. As a result, there is an increasing demand for clean, renewable sources of energy. One of the most promising alternative energy sources is biomass energy, which is derived from plant materials like wood and small amounts of other organic materials. By using biomass energy, we can help lessen our dependence on non-renewable energy sources, which will in turn help fight global warming.
Can Biomass Generate Energy?
It is composed of organic material. The exact amount of biomass depends on what plants are grown, but in general, about 30% of the mass of plants consists of cellulose. This is one of the reasons why biomass can actually be used to generate energy – cellulose can absorb large amounts of heat easily, and this heat can be turned into electricity when heat is applied with a turbine.
How Biomass Can Generate Energy?
How does it work? Biomass can absorb carbon dioxide easily, so it is an effective source of renewable energy. The process works the same way that a plant absorbs carbon dioxide and uses it to photosynthesize food for itself – the more of this food that the plant has, the more energy it can produce. The more biomass comes into being that is renewable, the less we need to mine for new fossil fuels, and the less we need to burn fossil fuel wastes and release toxic chemicals into the air.
Biogasification or Bio Power Production
The process of biopower production by using biomass is also called biogasification.
It takes place when sewage waste, cooking oil, petrochemicals, and other solid wastes are fermented with bacteria to generate a gas called biogas. The gaseous biogas is then injected into underground wells, or into sewage pipes beneath the surface.
What Is Pyramid of Biomass, Definition
At the right side, you find the secondary sources of biomass which include synthetic fuels. They are used in place of fossil fuels.
Significance of Pyramid of Biomass
The energy that is obtained from these fuels cannot be used directly for consumption. In this sense, the pyramid represents a food chain from the base of the food chain through the apex of the food chain.’
Second Pyramid of Biomass, Metabolic or Exorganic Pyramid
The relationship between biomass and the function of each layer in the food chain is illustrated by the second pyramid. This pyramid is called the metabolic or exorganic pyramid. It compares the organic or inorganic pyramid with the functional or metalliferous pyramid.
Third Pyramid of Biomass, The Functional Pyramid of Biomass
The third pyramid, the functional pyramid, compares the productivity or biomass present in the ecosystems of the planet with the efforts of society to supply food and other energy needs. This happens at the phytoplankton level of the pyramid. This refers to life forms such as algae, cyanobacteria, plankton, etc. At the metalliferous level of the pyramid, we are referring to the use of metals for manufacture; we are also looking at fossil fuels as a means of fueling our modern economy.
At the overall level of the ecological pyramid, we are looking at the different trophic level effects of humans on the environment.
Major Limitations Biomass Pyramid and Trophic Level Effects of Humans on the Environment
At the lowest level, there are the effects that humans have upon the environment through their consumption of fossil fuels, pesticides and herbicides, etc. At the higher levels of the pyramid, humans take care of all their own needs and the balance between the different trophs is maintained.
Examples: Pyramid of Biomass
At the very top, we have ecosystems where phytoplankton life forms dominate and the accumulation of organic wastes is the only way in which the mass organisms take in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. At this point, human beings have become ecologists they have consciously decided to sustain a healthy balance between the different ecosystems in which they live.
Upright Biomass Pyramid of Biomass or Biomass Energy Balance
The Upright Biomass Pyramid, also known as the biomass pyramid, is a tool for determining the amount of biomass you are producing in your field. Basically it is a visual representation that helps you understand how much biomass you are producing from all the trees, grass land and other land animals you have on your farm. It is important to note that you can have both plants and animals on your farm but your visual graph will be very misleading without the presence of a soil temperature graph, a hydrology diagram and a vegetation density graph. The Upright biomass pyramid has many inputs such as production estimations and other data to support or contrast with your data set up.
How Upright Biomass Pyramid Works?
In order to use the Upright Biomass Pyramid you need to understand how it works. Each of the four components of the Upright biomass pyramid are also important for supporting your data analysis; production, consumers, sellers and waste. The production component is based on Two things:
- How much carbon (P) is produced by your producers
- The number of units of biomass (N).
The consumers is also based on two things:
- Amount of carbon released in the form of finished goods
- The number of producers.
The sellers and waste is determined by the amount of carbon released as N and the volume of carbon produced as L. When you add up all of the components of the Upright biomass pyramid you get what is known as the Biomass Energy Balance.
- Hexagonal and Trapezoidal Pyramids
There are several different pyramids available including the inverted, hexagonal and the trapezoidal biomass pyramids. The inverted pyramid is the one used most often in the agricultural sector. It is often used as a marker or indicator of the biomass level of an area. The hexagonal and trapezoidal pyramids are equally useful when representing the quantity of different types of organisms on an area of a farm field. The other two pyramids available are just there for educational purposes. As they can be printed out and placed in any classroom for use in teaching about biomass.
Read Also: BRANCHES OF A TREE – AN OVERVIEW
Aquatic Ecosystems of Pyramid of Biomass Or Biomass Pyramid of a Marine Ecosystem
At the very bottom of the biomass pyramid are the aquatic ecosystems. The types of organisms at the bottom of the pyramid include all forms of waste. These wastes do not need to be disposed of in any kind of environmentally sound way. They include dead leaves, stems, insects, fish eggs, etc.The pyramid is a useful way of visualizing different types of biomass because it can be divided into three parts.
One has to do with primary producers, the second with secondary producers and the third one with aquatic organisms.
Comparison of Pyramid of Biomass with Fossil Fuel Energy
There are two things that have to be taken into consideration. When you compare the pyramid of biomass with the fossil fuel industry. Firstly, it shows us clearly that our modern day economy cannot sustain the use of these energy sources. There are not enough organisms present to break down the heavy carbon dioxide which is released in the burning of fossil fuels.
Biomass Natural or Non-Biodegradable?
There have been many claims made about biomass. Some say that it is all natural; others say it is non-biodegradable; still others say that it is comprised of living matter (i.e. plants and animals) which can be used for fuel. Let us take a look at some of the answers offered for the question of a pyramid of biomass.
Bioenergy Pyramid of Biomass
The bioenergy pyramid of biomass is also useful in showing different scenarios where biomass can be used. It is also useful because it allows people to compare different types of organisms in terms of their reproductive capacity. An example of this would be comparing a tall grassland ecosystem, with a pond ecosystem that is completely different.
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