Before humankind discovered oil, coal, natural gas and uranium and learnt how to put them to use, biomass covered all of the respective needs. Since time immemorial, it has provided food, feed and fodder, fuel, construction materials, and the raw materials for textiles as well as medicinal drugs. Until the mechanisation and motorisation of farming subsequent to the Industrial Revolution, agricultural biomass production was based on regional, largely closed, food and energy cycles. The energy needed for this production (fodder for working animals and food for the human workforce) came from within the agricultural sector itself. As technology progressed in the 20th century, it significantly changed the way in which biomass is produced and used (cue: specialisation, increasing global division of labour and trade). Fossil fuels made the motorisation of agriculture and the energy-intensive production of fertilisers and pesticides possible.