Saturday, December 22, 2018

Carrying Capacity

Today, we begin a discussion on carrying capacity. First, a definition:
"In ecological terms, the carrying capacity of an ecosystem is the size of the population that can be supported indefinitely upon the available resources and services of that ecosystem. Living within the limits of an ecosystem depends on three factors:
  • the amount of resources available in the ecosystem,
  • the size of the population, and
  • the amount of resources each individual is consuming."


"equally important to community sustainability is living within the carrying capacity of the community's human, social and built capital. Carrying capacity is much harder to measure for these types of capital, but the basic concept is the same -- are the different types of capital being used up faster than they are being replenished? For example:
  • A community that allows its children to be poorly educated, undernourished, and poorly housed is eroding its human capital.
  • A community that allows the quality of its social interactions to decline through lack of trust, respect, and tolerance is eroding its social capital.
  • A community that allows its buildings, roads, parks, power facilities, water facilities, and waste processing capability to decay is eroding its built capital. Additionally, a community that is creating built capital without considering the future maintenance of that capital is setting itself up for eventual decay."

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