Resources Carrying Capacity

The Progress of Resources and Environment Carrying Capacity: from Single-factor Carrying Capacity Research to Comprehensive Research

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Received date: 2017-08-10

  Revised date: 2017-11-02

  Online published: 2018-03-30

Supported by

The National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0503500); National Science and Technology Major Project (Z2016C01G01); The maximum population that can be supported by water resources; the intensity of industrial and agricultural activities that can be supported


As a concept to describe development restrictions, resources and environment carrying capacity (RECC) research has developed over more than 100 years since it was first proposed at the beginning of the 20th century. It is now regarded as a significant factor in evaluating the level of cooperation between regional population, resources, and environment; and it is currently used as an effective and operational tool to guide regional sustainable development. This article first reviews the origin of RECC and its early headway. It then reviews the historical development of RECC from single factors, such as land resources carrying capacity, water resources carrying capacity and environmental carrying capacity (environmental capacity), to more comprehensive research, such as comprehensive evaluation, emergy analysis, and ecological footprint analysis. In general, it appears that comprehensive research will become increasingly important in RECC research. However, there are several deficiencies in the current state of comprehensive research. Firstly, comprehensive RECC research lacks a common measurement standard, though some scholars have attempted to create one. Secondly, the RECC evaluation of open systems and dynamic studies should be strengthened. Thirdly, more attention should be paid to standardization, digitalization, and systematization to promote the applicability of RECC research to national practical demands.

Cite this article

FENG Zhiming, SUN Tong, YANG Yanzhao, YAN Huimin . The Progress of Resources and Environment Carrying Capacity: from Single-factor Carrying Capacity Research to Comprehensive Research[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2018 , 9(2) : 125 -134 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.02.002


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