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Census : Randland 996NE


Noah Ruan
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It is genetic, or at least several people in Randland seems to believe that and say it outright (I think they have already by the point where you are now). But there's no way to predict whether your offspring will be able to channel (nor how strongly) so it is probably recessive (not sure if there are degrees of recessive, been too long since my biology classes).

 

Also, there seems to be a recent trend of several very strong channelers being born, and if that is true (and not just a subjective perception from our biased PoV) something strange and possibly non-genetic might be going on as well.

 

 

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I want to say the Spark gene is carried in all human repoductive cells. That is to say, anyone could have a sparker child anywhere in the world, as an inherint part of being human, and cannot be "bred out." Similar to anyone in the world having a child who is left handed, or creative, or extremely good memory. It is just another facet of being human in RJ's universe.

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I want to say the Spark gene is carried in all human repoductive cells. That is to say, anyone could have a sparker child anywhere in the world, as an inherint part of being human, and cannot be "bred out." Similar to anyone in the world having a child who is left handed, or creative, or extremely good memory. It is just another facet of being human in RJ's universe.

 

 

But see this is where I would start trending my thoughts towards being completely against the "channeler population" numbers being discussed above this post.

 

I understand where you are coming from saying that channeling is just a genetic trait no different (or at least as you say similar) to those that have left handed, or creative, or extremely good memory.

 

However, channeling is not just another trait.

 

To group it with left handed (freaks that they are :wink: ) people is not correct on this point.

 

Channeling is a scripted, definable trait ADVANTAGE. Those that can channel - live longer, heal wounds that would never be able to be by the general population, can be used to get out of tough situations (deflecting Trollocs and Deadmen namely), among other physical, mental, and emotional advantages.

 

I wouldn't juxtapose that trait with those that are left handed. I would tend to compare those that can channel with the modern homo sapiens and those that cannot channel as Neanderthals. Its a bit archaic and rough, (not to mention kinda Red Ajah-ish) I know, but I only mean to point out (at least to my mind) how much more of a physical, mental, emotional advantage I believe Channeling to be. Especially if its a genetic trait I just don't see how there would be such a low population of channelers.

Edited by Noah Ruan
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In the Age of Legends, channelers had duties and indeed their title (Servant of All / Aes Sedai) seems to indicate that society made sure to bring them down a notch by utilizing their blessings for the benefit of all. While I'm sure one can discuss at length if that would work, or whether they would band together and create a super race, it sounds plausible to me.

 

Found a quote in the interview database where BS replied to Luckers on Twitter that he indeed had an estimate of the population of Randland. No follow up though.

 

Also, RJ confirmed several times that 1% is the current number of (possible) channelers, including both learners and sparkers. He also speaks about there being both a genetic and "another" component, mentioning that some souls are channelers regardless (at least that's how I interpreted it).

Edited by Alric
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Luker's comments on ratio of domani to suldam was good work of deduction. I would push it a step further with Tar Valon, in that it being so close to the white tower that few women with the spark or men for that mater get past the attention of the tower, breading out channeling even more for that location. so perhaps even fewer and few are born in Tar Valon or any major city where the aes sedai are present. The only problem is the amount of trainable channeler, I thought that the sisters could see both with the spark and trainables, or is testing trainables more involed?

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Without any spoilers if possible - is channeling a genetic "thing"? And if so.... shouldn't most of the population of Randland BE channelers? However, they fall on the scale or not..... natural selection would eventually (over a 3,000 year period maybe not so much) overcome. Those that can channel have an obvious advantage of living longer, healing deeper physical wounds, etc.
According to RJ, channeling has both a genetic and a soul-based component. So, partially genetic, but the right genes are not enough.
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Maria told me that it was an even distribution on a bell curve (within genders, of course).

It's not the "standardized" bell-shaped curve. Meaning, the strength isn't 0-100, where the mean=50. Of course, it could still be that shape (more or less).

 

There are far more of the relatively weak than there are of the relatively strong. Brandon Sanderson said so (e-mail):

A. If you're mathematically inclined I would call it a Weibull distrubution, roughly symmetrical, but skewed on one side. There are lots more exceptionally weak channelers than exceptionally strong. Many women are put out of the Tower for being too weak, but exceptionally strong women are rare. From the little we know of the Black Tower, men are basically the same.

 

There's also this:

Plot Related Q&A With Maria Simons + New MAFO by Luckers

 

Luckers

 

In Lord of Chaos Ch. 30, "To Heal Again", Siuan, after being healed, says to Nynaeve that 'if she could heal her to half of what she was' she would be better off. This has led to the perception that Siuan and Leane are less than half their original strength. Yet in Crossroads of Twilight Ch. 19, "Surprises", we find out that both women stand several steps above the Aes Sedai minimum strength. This seems problematic—the range of Aes Sedai strength does not appear to be so great as to allow for this. So the question is, did Siuan and Leane in fact lose such a large amount of strength as they appear to have?

 

Maria Simons

 

Yes, they did lose a large amount of strength. The range of strength is greater than you think, I believe. At the beginning, Siuan was near the top (and Leane close behind); if she were half the strength she used to be, she'd be in the middle. Instead, she's somewhere in the lower half, but not absolute rock bottom, nor nearly as low as Daigian Moseneillin.

Edited by Nightstrike
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  • 2 weeks later...

Get a army-country ratio from a couple of 1600-1700 european countries, get numbers from WOT books, i.e caemlyn army, with the ratio roughly guess the population:P

Exactly! We can look at quotes like from Elayne for example who stated that Andor's entire might from all the houses would perhaps field an army of perhaps 200,000 and these would be men from crafts and trades and levies (comparing them to the 200,000 in the combined Borderland Army marching south.) Of course things get a little shaded later on for all the grandness because we also have quotes or thoughts from the Borderland Rulers that they left enough of their armies behind to defend the borderlands short of the Trolloc Wars come again. Of course for all the last three books BS downplayed that alot as it pretty much was the Trolloc Wars come again like at Maradon and Tarwin's Gap and the Arafellan Towers. What becomes confusing are the sheer numbers of Trollocs that we have seen even earlier such as Algarin's Manor had about 100,000, and around that attacking General Kiergan returning to the Seanchan stronghold. We see that and more at Maradon even after all those tens and tens of thousands which Itaralde put to the sword prior to Rand and his zen-awesomeness.

 

We have a good idea as to how many men Mayene and Ghealdan can field, how many 100,000's the Seanchan have, how many Taraboners and Amadicians and the Children of the Light. Illian and Tear and Carhien (sp) have about the same which after all the fighting match Andor in strength (200,000) but maybe more standing armsmen and more seasoned fighters. I think Perrin has gathered up all the tailings and has around 100,000 in soldiers and the camp followers/Gaishan. Apply the math that the borderlands have at a minimum of 200,000-250,000 soldiers pre-BS and them being the most militaristic nations apart from the Seanchan and that their cities are smaller than the "Great Cities" their populations are likely 900-1050k each, the lower lands have around 800k on the low end to 2,000,000 on the high end, figure in around 7%-11% of the population can be accounted as soldiers in the southlands and midlands, while the very nature of the Borderlands would see the population at around 15%-25% devoted to defense/military with a greater number of better suited men/women trained in the blade or with arms that could be called up.

 

A bit of rambling, but I know that someone posted it all nice and much better worked out, but I can't remember when or where I saw it, it was really in depth, the above is the best that I can do.

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Just a sidenote, but I noticed in either the end of WH, or the prolouge of CoS, that Elayne thinks that with all the refugees and whatnot in th city, that Caemlyn now has more people than Tar Valon.

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Apply the math that the borderlands have at a minimum of 200,000-250,000 soldiers

 

Except we know this isn't correct. Andor at 200,000 has the largest Army of the Randland nations(outside of Seanchan/Aiel of course).

Edited by Suttree
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It takes a few acres of farm land to support ONE heavy cavalrymen, count the thousands, and then realize that still more land is needed for civilians, and all the infrastructure needed to suport the farmers (ranchers, black-smiths, weevers, tinkers, Coopers, Wagon-writes, minters, miners, smelters, Charcoal makers, wood cutters, Brick makers, Brick layers, masons, ship wrights, sailors, etc...), and, in circular fashion, enough farmers and farmland to support them.... you shouldn't be so surprised to believe that there are LOTS of people in Randland. A few hundred Million may be high.... or it may not be. But I think most people are underestimating

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It takes a few acres of farm land to support ONE heavy cavalrymen, count the thousands, and then realize that still more land is needed for civilians, and all the infrastructure needed to suport the farmers (ranchers, black-smiths, weevers, tinkers, Coopers, Wagon-writes, minters, miners, smelters, Charcoal makers, wood cutters, Brick makers, Brick layers, masons, ship wrights, sailors, etc...), and, in circular fashion, enough farmers and farmland to support them.... you shouldn't be so surprised to believe that there are LOTS of people in Randland. A few hundred Million may be high.... or it may not be. But I think most people are underestimating

you are not alone in trying to explain the number of people in randland in a reasonable way, the problem is many tend to either not understand reality (perrin has 20,000+ professional soldiers for example, and it takes 200,000 to support that alone, and that doesn't count the rest that he has, just people who supported it to start with as standing professional armies)or just want to go into fantasy land (makes a bit of sense, it is a fantasy series) but then you think of an army that was a standing army the size of the borderlander army, more than a hundred thousand professional soldiers. to support a standing army of even 100,000 in the borderlands you would need a million farmers. blacksmiths/farriers leather smiths among other required specialities, would take many more that also need to be supported by farmers. the numbers of the westland armies alone demand a minimum (before the dragon) of 50 million people. that is before the seanchan make landfall, and without the aiel active in the wetlands. i'm trying to make it clear that the westlands easily has more than 100 million people, with less it would never have supported its armies and still had enough left over to create an economy.

 

edit: nothing in my post changed, just want to say that people can extrapolate from the numbers i gave based on how many are in the standing armies of the nations, take the standing army size, multiply it by 20, then multiply that by 2, and that means that half of the economy is supporting the army, the other half is supporting trade.

Edited by Testy al'Carr
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It takes a few acres of farm land to support ONE heavy cavalrymen, count the thousands, and then realize that still more land is needed for civilians, and all the infrastructure needed to suport the farmers (ranchers, black-smiths, weevers, tinkers, Coopers, Wagon-writes, minters, miners, smelters, Charcoal makers, wood cutters, Brick makers, Brick layers, masons, ship wrights, sailors, etc...), and, in circular fashion, enough farmers and farmland to support them.... you shouldn't be so surprised to believe that there are LOTS of people in Randland. A few hundred Million may be high.... or it may not be. But I think most people are underestimating

you are not alone in trying to explain the number of people in randland in a reasonable way, the problem is many tend to either not understand reality (perrin has 20,000+ professional soldiers for example, and it takes 200,000 to support that alone, and that doesn't count the rest that he has, just people who supported it to start with as standing professional armies)or just want to go into fantasy land (makes a bit of sense, it is a fantasy series) but then you think of an army that was a standing army the size of the borderlander army, more than a hundred thousand professional soldiers. to support a standing army of even 100,000 in the borderlands you would need a million farmers. blacksmiths/farriers leather smiths among other required specialities, would take many more that also need to be supported by farmers. the numbers of the westland armies alone demand a minimum (before the dragon) of 50 million people. that is before the seanchan make landfall, and without the aiel active in the wetlands. i'm trying to make it clear that the westlands easily has more than 100 million people, with less it would never have supported its armies and still had enough left over to create an economy.

 

I've actually been pretty interested in this. Could you point me in the direction of any links on the topic? Thanks!

Edited by Suttree
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I've actually been pretty interested in this. Could you point me in the direction of any links on the topic? Thanks!

 

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/army/medieval_logistics.htm this is a start, but it takes some time of hearing numbers used in war and numbers needed at home to start to understand just how many more are needed to support an army than can be in that army. although i suppose the old siege of troy is a great example, 3/4ths of the population had to remain at home to support the 100k or so that managed to take troy. and they were so over extended that odissius couldn't keep troy. that is way before the middle ages, but it is a good equation.

 

edit: (he essentialy laid siege to troy on a bet that he couldn't win a war against it, that is where the whole oddysy (man i cant spell for shit) came from, the gods were pissed at his hubris, but the details of the war are great and on target, his trip back, not a clue)

Edited by Testy al'Carr
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I've actually been pretty interested in this. Could you point me in the direction of any links on the topic? Thanks!

 

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/army/medieval_logistics.htm this is a start, but it takes some time of hearing numbers used in war and numbers needed at home to start to understand just how many more are needed to support an army than can be in that army. although i suppose the old siege of troy is a great example, 3/4ths of the population had to remain at home to support the 100k or so that managed to take troy. and they were so over extended that odissius couldn't keep troy. that is way before the middle ages, but it is a good equation.

 

edit: (he essentialy laid siege to troy on a bet that he couldn't win a war against it, that is where the whole oddysy (man i cant spell for shit) came from, the gods were pissed at his hubris, but the details of the war are great and on target, his trip back, not a clue)

another good example is alexander also known as the great, and with 1/4th the population of greece and macedonia managed to beat the crap out of the persians, then take around a quarter of them an make it to southern pakistan, and even into northern india with his empire, with a pretty stable place at home at least untill he died in what is today northern india. of course everything broke loose after that, kinda sucks when your god dies.

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i'd prefer not to speak of the things that happen after middle achea, there are far too many nasty feelings that continue even to this day a bit over 2000 years later. i tried to write something about later wars, but it feels like i have to compromise myself too much to tell the truth without someone one way or another screaming at me no matter how objective i try to be about it. to say the least the current problems start at the end of middle achea and people are still willing to kill over things that happened back then.

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I seem to remember someone mentioning that Ebou Dar had the same population as Mayene. Also I think about a place like New York; huge concentration in the city and around it (LI, Westchester, Rockland). The towns spread out though when you get away but still maintain a large population. The Hudson Valley has almost a million people in it but we're well spread. That's just what I'm familiar with. How many times have you been on a road trip and been like "Oh snap where did this city come from that I've never heard of? There's like 30,000 people here how haven't I heard about this?" I assume that a city of 30,000 would be large for Randland, but a place like Baerlon probably has 10,000 and Aringill may have 30,000 if Caemlyn has 300,000. Hang on I'm starting to ramble... Ok looking at my area which has a lot of 1700ish towns they're spaced out about 20 miles apart. That's roughly a days journey for a person on horse back (makes sense since sleeping on the road would suck), and it seems like most Randland towns are spaced the same. I'm not sure what populations would be there but if there's a town every 20 miles with farms around them and the random small cities that don't warrant mentioning I could see a very large amount of people being possible. But there are alot of wastelands (sorry to contradict myself). Elyas says Perrin and Elaynes course in EOTW would take them all the way to the Spine without seeing a soul. So that's my spiel, take it for what it's worth.

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It takes a few acres of farm land to support ONE heavy cavalrymen, count the thousands, and then realize that still more land is needed for civilians, and all the infrastructure needed to suport the farmers (ranchers, black-smiths, weevers, tinkers, Coopers, Wagon-writes, minters, miners, smelters, Charcoal makers, wood cutters, Brick makers, Brick layers, masons, ship wrights, sailors, etc...), and, in circular fashion, enough farmers and farmland to support them.... you shouldn't be so surprised to believe that there are LOTS of people in Randland. A few hundred Million may be high.... or it may not be. But I think most people are underestimating

Just a thought when talking about farmers in Randland. You don't want to get confused farming there with farming here. In our world, we have huge harvesters that can harvest huge fields in a day or two. In Randland, the entire community would have to pitch in and leave whatever they were usually doing to help all the farmers. They would have one group go through the fields with scythes chopping down the crop, and another group trailing behind gathering everything up and transporting it somewhere where the food can be stored and not spoil in the autumn heat. Throw into that, we have developed, through multiple systems, crops that produce more food on less water, more food from each plant, plants that are bug, disease, drought, and flood resistant, and better fertilizer (they would use manure from all their farm animals and maybe themselves).

 

The point of this is that they would probably have at least twice as many farms as needed (probably more) because there are so many thing that can go wrong with farming that would leave you with not enough food that you would need redundancy. I don't know if other people have factored all that in, but it is worth mentioning.

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The debate has been interesting. Reading the various theories about low numbers versus high numbers.

However, I think there is a flaw in both arguments.

RJ was not constructing a world where everything met strict rules of life. Rather a land with enough realism that it was believable enough. His real aim was to tell a story that required huge armies. Lots of trollocs. Invading armies and settlers. And who knows what else.

His army situation is unsustainable in real terms, particularly during the long winter. The borderland armies could never have enough food without travelling all over randland - certainly not enough in local areas where little distance could be covered due to snowy conditions.

The Ail certainly couldn't sustain themselves in the three fold land when you consider it's desert make up.

All these are to provide a back drop that seems believable as in a film (movie)

My impression is that RJ wants the land to feel empty with a relatively small population but needs to have all this support for the armies as a necessary evil.

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The debate has been interesting. Reading the various theories about low numbers versus high numbers.

However, I think there is a flaw in both arguments.

RJ was not constructing a world where everything met strict rules of life. Rather a land with enough realism that it was believable enough. His real aim was to tell a story that required huge armies. Lots of trollocs. Invading armies and settlers. And who knows what else.

His army situation is unsustainable in real terms, particularly during the long winter. The borderland armies could never have enough food without travelling all over randland - certainly not enough in local areas where little distance could be covered due to snowy conditions.

The Ail certainly couldn't sustain themselves in the three fold land when you consider it's desert make up.

All these are to provide a back drop that seems believable as in a film (movie)

My impression is that RJ wants the land to feel empty with a relatively small population but needs to have all this support for the armies as a necessary evil.

 

 

I agree. If this world were not a fantasy, then the population would have to be much larger to support the armies fielded; however there are plenty of examples (namely in the first few books) of characters traveling for weeks at a time w/o seeing a soul.

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I think we can assume that the crops Randland farmers would grow would be of the more advanced sort, perhaps more advanced than what we grow, in terms of being drought, bug and disease resistant, and in producing high yields. They would, after all, be relics of the Age of Legends. There has simply not been enough time for farmers to have re-domesticated the wild varieties of food plants, and they would have carried seed-stock and seedlings through the Breaking. And manure can be a perfectly fine fertilizer provided it is properly composted, especially if you have the advanced plants. Granted, they would not have the efficient planting and harvesting techniques we use or that would have been used in the AoL.

 

I have a feeling the world is much more densely populated than the early books would lead us to believe. Human beings have a tendency to congregate around water-ways, rivers and coastlines. Much of the early parts of the book have us traveling inland, where humans of that level of technology would simply not travel or settle with much regularity. The Westlands are roughly as big as the continental United States, perhaps a bit larger. There are over 300 million people that currently live in the US, and there are still places where you can travel on foot or horseback for about a week without running into settlements or signs of civilization greater than distant farmland or telephone lines, perhaps an old road. Granted, most of those places are in national or state parks in the desert and mountainous west, but there are still large parts of the country, even in the Midwest and East that are essentially well-contained wilderness.

 

In 1860, the US population was estimated to be at almost 31 and a half million people. I chose 1860 because, if you take away their guns, they'd have roughly equivalent levels of technology, and it's prior to trans-continental railway. Think about the wilderness that existed through the Great Plains, and in the Great Forests of the East, let alone in both mountain ranges. And you could probably preserve most of that even doubling the population to 60 some million. In fact, given the levels of civilization and settlement we have seen so far, being realistic, the population cap should be somewhere around 100-120 million, given the amount of landmass that has to be filled, which the US hit in the 1910's, prior to planes or automobiles, and well before our most spectacular agricultural advancements. I think 60-90 million is probably the best guess, with 15 million through the Borderlands, another 15 million shared through Andor and Cairhein, with 3 to 4 million each of that living in or serving the cities of Caemlyn and Cairhein, and the rest scattered through the coastal nations. Some of the southern or western coastal cities might be even bigger. Tar Valon, and all it's outlying villages, might come up to 2-3 million. I doubt any of the Borderland cities reached much more than 1-1.5 million. And the Aiel waste, while not able to support a dense population, is vast, and the Aiel themselves live in a much more self-sufficient manner, able to field a greater proportion of their population as warriors than the Westlands. It would not be inconceivable that a third of their population turned warrior to follow the Car'a'carn, bringing their total population to only about 3-4 million.

Edited by Thrasymachus
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I think we can assume that the crops Randland farmers would grow would be of the more advanced sort, perhaps more advanced than what we grow, in terms of being drought, bug and disease resistant, and in producing high yields. They would, after all, be relics of the Age of Legends. There has simply not been enough time for farmers to have re-domesticated the wild varieties of food plants, and they would have carried seed-stock and seedlings through the Breaking. And manure can be a perfectly fine fertilizer provided it is properly composted, especially if you have the advanced plants. Granted, they would not have the efficient planting and harvesting techniques we use or that would have been used in the AoL.

Lack of fertilizers, water pumps, machinery, and so on, would still limit the yields. Our crops wouldn't yield much better than the crops they had, say, the year 1900, if our crops were to be transported back to that time. Sunlight's the same, and there's a loss in yield if you lack the essential stuff in sufficient amounts. They would also have had trouble with the harvest back in 1900, if they got our seed (dwarfed plants).

 

Wild plants aren't evolved to yield as much as possible during the best possible growing conditions.

Edited by Nightstrike
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Wild plants aren't evolved to yield as much as possible during the best possible growing conditions.

 

That's right, wild plants have evolved to yield some in as many possible growing conditions. But we're not talking about wild plants, or even the highly selectively bred, and in some cases genetically engineered plants we use today, we're talking about plants who's ancestry lies in the Age of Legends, kept by people who would have retained at least some of the knowledge of how to care for them. We don't know what traits they would have bred for, but I would imagine that maintaining high yields while reducing inputs such as irrigation, fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide would be fairly high on the list. In short, we're assuming a lot to assume that their agricultural productivity would have been similar to ours prior to the industrial revolution, and there is some reason to believe that it could be better. Even so, these ruminations don't much impact my projections above.

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That's right, wild plants have evolved to yield some in as many possible growing conditions. But we're not talking about wild plants, or even the highly selectively bred, and in some cases genetically engineered plants we use today, we're talking about plants who's ancestry lies in the Age of Legends, kept by people who would have retained at least some of the knowledge of how to care for them. We don't know what traits they would have bred for, but I would imagine that maintaining high yields while reducing inputs such as irrigation, fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide would be fairly high on the list. In short, we're assuming a lot to assume that their agricultural productivity would have been similar to ours prior to the industrial revolution, and there is some reason to believe that it could be better. Even so, these ruminations don't much impact my projections above.

You missed the point. The difference between yields the year 1900 and today is due to our use of energy. Without it, our "highly selectively bred" plants would produce much closer to the yields the year 1900 - and most of the difference would be because of the dwarf varieties. Those dwarf varieties would not be an advantage without our use of energy. Come harvest, they'd wish they weren't dwarfs. Also, I think the dwarfs are more prone to disease, so they'll need more chemicals. Edited by Nightstrike
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And you missed my point. I'm not talking about the varieties of plants we use today, I'm talking about the plants they developed during the Age of Legends. I admit that the yields from those plants during the Third Age would not have matched their yields from the Age of Legends, but we have no reason to believe their yields would be as poor as the yields we got during the 1900's.

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