(Environment & Ecology)General Studies Paper 3
Question:- 68. Define the concept of carrying capacity of an ecosystem as relevant to an environment. Explain how understanding this concept is vital while planning for sustainable development of a region.
Sep 17, 2022


Carrying capacity is the maximum population size that an ecosystem can sustainably support without degrading the ecosystem.



Understanding carrying capacity is vital for sustainable development because:



• 1. Economic Planning: Through careful analysis of resource availability and requirements of economy appropriate strategies can be developed for optimal use of resources while minimising adverse ecological impacts.

2. Population Control: based on the carrying capacity of a region. For example, fertile Gangetic plains can support a higher population but the same population growth is unsustainable in the Himalayan region. Thus population policy has to be tweaked accordingly.

3.Biodiversity Conservation: National Parks and Wildlife sanctuaries need a balance between animal population and prey base/ resources available. Animal population beyond the carrying capacity of forests leads to man-animal conflicts.

4. Agriculture Management: agriculture practices must reflect the carrying capacity of the soil water-scarce regions growing water-intensive crops is a recipe for ecological disaster.

5. Urban Planning: Every urban area must provide some basic urban amenities. Growth of population beyond carrying capacity of Urban services leads to development of slums, pollution, inadequate waste and sewage disposal, etc. It diminishes the living standards in urban areas and has long term health impacts on inhabitants.

6. Food security: Today we have more population that our food resources human feed adequately. We have already passed our carrying capacity, but if it continues further, we are in danger of widespread food shortage.



Planners need to start development with carrying capacity at the foundation of future growth model to ensure quality of life for future generations.