carrying capacity

Carrying capacity may mean any of the following:


  • The maximum number of organisms that an area or habitat can support without reducing its ability to support the same number of organisms in the future.

  • The amount of biological matter the system can yield, for consumption by animals or humans, over a given period of time without impairing its ability to continue producing, or the number of animals it can support without being degraded.

  • The maximum population of a given species that can be supported indefinitely, in a particular region, allowing for seasonal and random changes, without any degradation of the natural resource base that would diminish the maximum population in the future.

  • The maximum intensity of use an area will continuously support under a management program without inducing a permanent change in the biotic environment.