Carrying Capacity

The average number of livestock and/or wildlife that may be sustained on a management unit compatible with management objectives for the unit. In addition to site characteristics, it is a function of management goals and management intensity. (SRM) The amount of forage produced annually in a management unit is only one attribute used to determine carrying capacity. The forage also has to be available to the animals. On many rangelands, the carrying capacity may be less than forage production would indicate because parts of the management unit are inaccessible to grazing animals. In essence, forage is present but unavailable.

Society for Range Management. 1998. Glossary of terms used in range management, fourth edition. Edited by the Glossary Update Task Group, Thomas E. Bedell, Chairman. Used with permission.