Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2018, Vol. 9 ›› Issue (2): 115-124.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.02.001

• Resources Carrying Capacity •     Next Articles

Evaluation Methods and Research Trends for Ecological Carrying Capacity

DU Wenpeng1,2, YAN Huimin2,3,*, YANG Yanzhao2,3, LIU Fang2   

  1. 1. School of Earth Science and Resource, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710000, China;;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2017-08-10 Revised:2017-11-23 Online:2018-03-30 Published:2018-03-30
  • Contact: * YAN Huimin, E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    The National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0503500); National Science and Technology Major Project (Z2016C01G01)

Abstract: With the intensive research into global coupling relationships, ecological carrying capacity (ECC), seen as the crucial link between natural ecosystems and human systems, has gradually become an important tool for interdisciplinary research in ecology, resources science and environmental science, as well as for research on regional sustainable development. However, ECC research remains immature and lacks a complete theoretical system, as a result of many limiting factors and different space-time conditions. At present, Chinese and foreign studies focus on methods to evaluate ECC while neglecting to identify the internal driving mechanisms of ECC. In this article, based on the development and conceptualization of ECC, we introduce three evaluation methods for ECC: ecological footprint (EF), human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP) and ecosystem services consumption (ESC). Furthermore, we illuminate research focuses and developmental directions for ECC with respect to driving mechanisms, threshold, comprehensive evaluation systems and coupling dynamic model of multi ecological factors, in order to provide a reference for future ECC research.

Key words: ecological carrying capacity, ecological consumption, ecosystem services, threshold