Carrying Capacity, web sites, and articles

Definition of Carrying Capacity

Carrying capacity refers to the number of individuals who can be supported in a given area within natural resource limits, and without degrading the natural social, cultural and economic environment for present and future generations. The carrying capacity for any given area is not fixed. It can be altered by improved technology, but mostly it is changed for the worse by pressures that accompany a population increase. As the environment is degraded, carrying capacity actually shrinks, leaving the environment no longer able to support even the number of people who could formerly have lived in the area on a sustainable basis. No population can live beyond the environment’s carrying capacity for very long.

United States carrying capacity:

  • 100 million. David Pimentel “Population Politics” by Virginia Abernethy (2000)
  • 250 million. Vaclav Smil  “Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production” (2000)

Carrying Capacity by Nation

Global Footprint Network.  Find out the latest figure for your nation.

2007. List of countries by ecological footprint. Global footprint network.

page 10: the carrying capacity of many nations:  10 March 1997. Mathis Wackernagel, et. al. Ecological Footprints of Nations. How Much Nature Do They Use? — How Much Nature Do They Have? Centro de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad, Universidad Anáhuac de Xalapa. In 1997 the nations that were NOT over carrying capacity were Australia, Canada, Chile, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden.

Carrying capacity websites

Australia Carrying Capacity Dashboard

Redefining Progress Ecological Footprint

Read more about Carrying Capacity

Anca Novacovici. 12 Nov 2012. Peak Oil? What About Peak Food? A Conversation With Lester Brown. Huffingtonpost

Now here’s a real tragedy — the end of coffee!  7 Nov 2012. Arabica Coffee Could Be Extinct in the Wild Within 70 Years. ScienceDaily

Population Matters Organization

William E. Rees, The University of British Columbia.  Revisiting Carrying Capacity: Area-Based Indicators of Sustainability

State of Florida carrying capacity. Floridians for a Sustainable Population.

1 May 2000. Mark R. Elsis. Subject: We Have Passed Sustainability.

24 June 2002. Christopher Doering. Study: Earth Can’t Meet Human Demand for Resources. Reuters.

16 May 2007. Professor François Cellier. Ecological Footprint, Energy Consumption, and the Looming Collapse. theoildrum

3 May 2007. Special guest: Dr. Russell Hopfenberg on food supply, carrying capacity, and population.

Russell Hopfenberg and David Pimentel. 6 Mar 2001. Human Population Numbers as a Function of Food Supply.

Human Carrying Capacity is Determined by Food Availability. Population and Environment, Vol 25 #2 109-17.

Population growth

365,000 new babies every day.
78 million a year

World population growth (Time of Christ)
150 million in 1    AD
300 million in 1350 AD
600 million in 1700 AD

World population growth (Last 200 years)
1 billion in 1804
2 billion in 1927
3 billion in 1960
4 billion in 1974
5 billion in 1987
6 billion in 1999

World population (projected growth)
2010 = 6.9 billion
2020 = 8.0 billion
2030 = 9.3 billion
2040 = Over 10 billion

The USA is the biggest consumer of oil. We burn up 20 million barrels
every day. The world consumes 75 million barrels a day. In other
words, the US with a population share of 5% consumes 27% of the world oil supply.

World energy supply comes from these primary sources:
Oil         40%
Coal         26%
Natural Gas     24%
Hydro          3%
Nuclear      7%

This entry was posted in Overpopulation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.