Carrying Capacity is important for ecosystems. It’s the balance between wildlife and the resources their habitats provide. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, carrying capacity is defined as, “the average population density…of a species below which its numbers tend to increase and above which its numbers tend to decrease because of shortages of resources.”1
A single habitat can only sustain so many members of a specific species because the amount of food, water, mates, and territory is limited.2 When a species becomes overpopulated, they exceed the carrying capacity and will find more competition for mates and resources. This will usually result in a population decline. If a species is under the carrying capacity, there will usually be rapid growth in population until carrying capacity is met or exceeded.3
When populations meet carrying capacity, they reach an equilibrium – which is when birth rates and death rates are equal. Carrying capacity and populations can fluctuate depending on environmental circumstances.Some of these are food and water supply, competition, availability of habitat, and extreme weather changes.3
Carrying capacity is super important when it comes to taking care of species. When trying to conserve a species, it’s important to know how much habitat they’ll need to survive and grow their population. Otherwise, survival may not be successful.4
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