Carrying Capacity – Definition, Types, Examples

Definition of Carrying Capacity

It consists of two words Carrying and Capacity. Carrying means to support or sustain. Capacity means the ability or the power to contain or producing the maximum output. Thus, Carrying Capacity means the ability to sustain up to a certain limit or scope.

It assesses the power of the Earth to sustain the maximum number of species without causing any damage to the ecosystem. Moreover, it is very important to assess the carrying capacity for the purpose of achieving sustainable development.

Thus we can say that carrying capacity and sustainable development are closely related. Proper analysis of the carrying capacity of a place assists in designing ways of maintaining proper ecological balance. It is a great factor influencing the industrial, agricultural, tourism and biodiversity and other factors too.

carrying capacity

Types of Carrying Capacity With Examples


Furthermore, the term carrying capacity can be estimated differently for various different types. It is a term that we use in consideration of physical, ecological, social, political, economic and other types.

For example, when talking about the physical or ecological type, it means the acceptable level of mass in places like parks, city streets, museums, etc.

When the population is at carrying capacity, there is no fluctuation in the birth or death rates. But when there is an increase in the population size above the carrying capacity, there is an overutilization of natural resources such as water, land, etc.

Also, there tends to be an increase in pollution-causing many environmental problems. Furthermore, this increase leads to the spread of many diseases. These diseases cause health problems. It increases death rates in comparison to birth rates.

Thus, the carrying capacity now becomes more as there is less consumption due to fewer births. This causes the population to increase again. The cycle goes on and once at carrying capacity, stops changing.

Thus, the importance of such a regulating factor in the carrying capacity can be assessed. Thus, there should be an adequate use of natural resources, proper treatment of sewage, proper disposal of waste.


Moreover, social type of carrying capacity can be assessed by the acceptable growth in tourism in a place. The growth should not cause loss of customs or danger to traditions of the communities residing in that place.


Also, the mobility of people from one place to another in search of better job opportunities affect the level of capacity. Such movement affects the economy of the former place. Also, the latter place loses its importance.

For example, due growth of tourism jobs, more people migrate to places of tourism. Thus, it leads to pollution, the spread of diseases. So, the political and economic development is affected. The loss of revenue and also manpower at the local level take place.

Need for assessing Carrying Capacity and Sustainability

It is a situation to be thought over seriously by all of us. We must focus on the Carrying capacity. The negative effects of the same can cause huge damages. Also, the concept of sustainability must be kept in mind. All kinds of environmental imbalances result from the same. Global warming is also caused due to the same.

Sustainable development also must take the form of providing equal work opportunities. Furthermore, eradication of poverty and provision of the traditions, practices, beliefs of the residents of host place is also included.

Carrying capacity and sustainability is a relative concept. Also, both are interrelated. Thus, the conservation of ecology, biodiversity and other important aspects require the proper monitoring of this concept. This must be done at respective intervals so that human beings are able to survive and develop in an eco-friendly manner.

Solved Question for You

Q. The carrying capacity of the Earth:

  1. Is Static
  2. Will grow over time due to technology advances
  3. Will decrease due to overutilization and exploitation over time.
  4. Unpredictable for a certain time in the future

Ans. Correct Answer is D.

Unpredictable for a certain time in the future. It changes with the change in physical, ecological, social, political, economic and other factors.,

Share with friends

Customize your course in 30 seconds

Which class are you in?
Get ready for all-new Live Classes!
Now learn Live with India's best teachers. Join courses with the best schedule and enjoy fun and interactive classes.
Ashhar Firdausi
IIT Roorkee
Dr. Nazma Shaik
Gaurav Tiwari
Get Started

Leave a Reply

Notify of

Customize your course in 30 seconds

Which class are you in?
No thanks.