Carrying capacity

The maximum stocking rate for livestock possible without damaging vegetation or related resources. Carrying capacity may vary from year to year on the same area, due to fluctuating forage production. Used by the government in decisions about how many livestock will be allowed on an allotment on public lands. This term also is used in ecology, wildlife management, recreation facility planning, and other subjects to describe the maximum use level that can be sustained without resulting in an unacceptable deterioration in quality.

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