Applying a Dynamic Model to Assess the Carrying Capacity of Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Environment | Chapter 01 | Current Research in Education and Social Studies Vol. 2

A system dynamics method to assess carrying capacity of a defined natural environment is presented. The proposed method seeks to relate per capita resource usage to ranges of population and per capita consumption beyond which the system is not viable relative to population dependent resource constraints. It provides a platform to investigate system behavior through system dynamics simulations where populations change, natural resources decay due to stressor impacts, and feedback occurs via implementation of policy. Application of the model to a case study of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) of phosphorous in Bear Lake, a Lake Michigan estuary (USA), shows the major total phosphorous (P) loading contribution is anthropogenic land use development. Three scenarios are quantitatively explored by assuming changes in land use and/or loading rates. Simulation results show tradeoffs between reduction of total P and land use; economic development can be flexibly evaluated against targets of loading reduction trajectories.

Author(s) Details

Yongliang Jin
Maryland Department of Transportation, 707 N Calvert St, Baltimore, MD 21202, Maryland, USA.

Dr. Richard P. Donovan
California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technologies, University of California, Irvine, USA.

Dr. William S. Breffle
College of Business, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA.

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