Last Updated 12 Mar 2023

The Idea of Carrying Capacity

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‘By the end of the 21st century, human population growth may exceed Earth's carrying capacity'. Discuss.

The thought of transporting capacity is non a new one. Transporting capacity is the maximal population size that the environment can back up without impairment (McGraw-Hill, 2002). The first thought of transporting capacity applied to natural beings was introduced in the 1980 's so the construct that the Earth is a ship with merely adequate nutrient and resources to be able to prolong a finite population is non new (Sayre 2007).

The population of Earth presently stands at around 6.8 billion and is expected to make 7 billion by the twelvemonth 2011. In merely 12 old ages, the population of Earth has risen by about 1 billion after a population of 6 billion was reached in 1999 (Unknown 2009). Population has been projected ; and estimated to make 9.4 billion by 2050. (Ehrlich.P, A 2009). The rate at which population is increasing causes a turning concern with the transporting capacity of the planet and whether or non the planet will be able to prolong the population.

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Worlds have already put strain on the environment and an increasing population puts an ever-growing strain on the environment. Human and environmental alterations that need to be considered such as clime alteration and over-consumption, new industrializing states such as India and China. Countries with rapid population growing are already happening it difficult to better, or even maintain the wellness of their people and their economic systems. (MacKenzie 1994).

There are many people who believe in Ester Boserup 's position that human invention and inventiveness will predominate and get the better of any jobs that pose a menace to mankind. There have been many technological progresss, which has allowed for increased output of harvests, one such progress is the innovation by Fritz Haber in 1909, the N repairing procedure known as the Haber-Bosch procedure (Matthews 2005). This procedure has helped feed many 1000000s and saved them from decease and famishment (Bhagwati 1996). Many other technological progresss such as one from Norm Borlaug where he devised a system to speed up the genteelness of disease-resistant wheat and crush the root rust fungus in Mexico (MacKenzie 2009).

The additions have non been without cost: dirt quality has been damaged, harvests like bananas have become less genetically diverse, rare strains of animate being have been pushed near to extinction, and home grounds have been destroyed. Increasing demand for meat besides puts force per unit area on agribusiness (Marshall 2009).

However factors such as clime alteration that may take to lifting temperatures, which is accelerated by our over ingestion doing monolithic sums of pollution and usage of valuable resources is of great concern to the universes transporting capacity and even with the progresss in engineering that worlds succeeded in the hereafter still looks inexorable.

The six most widely adult harvests in the universe are wheat, rice, maize, soya beans, barley and sorghum. Result suggest that outputs of corn, cotton and soya bean bead by approximately 0.6 per cent for each `` degree-day '' spent above 29 & A C. At present, agricultural parts across the US spend an norm of 57 degree-days above 29 & A C during the turning season. A turning season could lift to 413 degree-days by the terminal of the century (Barley 2009). Equally early as 2020 several states in Africa are likely to see a decrease in harvest outputs by up to 50 % . Droughts in Kenya have become 4 times more common in the last 25 old ages. In 2009, Kenya has had its 3rd failed crop in a row. (Alagiah 2009 )

Overfishing of the universe 's oceans has besides led to great harm, doing population clangs in many species although in recent old ages, fish farms have become more widespread and they cut down the load on wild fish but have jobs of their ain with get awaying fish, inordinate nutrient ingestion, infective viruses and louse infestations (Barley 2009 )

The job of increasing population makes the state of affairs much more hard to pull off. It may be possible that human invention and inventiveness will get the better of any troubles that mankind faces, although it does look that the bound of the planets transporting capacity is near to making it 's peak ; with consuming militias of minerals, oil, agricultural outputs and loss of biodiversity and that along with environmental alterations in the universe it will be hard for the full planet and that transporting capacity is a topic that needs careful consideration today.


  1. Alagiah. G ( 2009 ) . BBC Future of Food [ Television ]
  2. Barley.S ( 2009 ) . Climate tipping point defined for US harvest outputs [ Online ] . Available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed ]
  3. Bhagwati.K ( 1994 ) . No Clean Hands [ Online ] Available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed: 24/01/2010 ]
  4. Ehrlich.P, Ehrlich.A ( 2009 ) . Population: Enough of us now [ Online ] . Available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed:23/01/2009 ]
  5. MacKenzie.D ( 1994 ) . Will tomorrow 's kids hunger? The People job [ Online ] . Available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed:24/01/2010 ]
  6. Mackenzie.D ( 2009 ) . Norm Borlaug: the adult male who fed the universe [ Online ] . Available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed: 25/01/2010 ]
  7. Marshall. M ( 2009 ) . Instantaneous Expert: Food and Drink [ Online ] . Available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed: 25/01/2010 ]
  8. Matthews.R ( 2005 ) . The existent Dr Faustus? [ Online ] . Available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 23/01/2010 ]
  9. McGraw-Hill ( 2002 ) . Dictionary of Environmental Science. McGraw-Hill. United States.
  10. Sayre.N ( 2007 ) . Transporting Capacity: Genesis, History and Conceptual Flaws [ Online ] . Available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 23/01/2010 ]
  11. Unknown ( 2009 ) . 2009 World Population Data Sheet [ Online ] . Available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed: 23/01/2010 ]
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