Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (3): 363-376.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1603-4

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Comprehensive evaluation of regional resources and environmental carrying capacity using a PS-DR-DP theoretical model

Liang WANG1,2,3,4(), Hui LIU1,2,3,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. College of Resource and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2018-05-21 Accepted:2018-07-15 Online:2019-03-25 Published:2019-03-20
  • Contact: Hui LIU;
  • About author:

    Author: Wang Liang (1989-), PhD, specialized in regional sustainable development. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    The Specific Project of National Key Research and Development Program of China, No.2016YFC0503506;Strategy Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.XDA20010103


The concepts of regional resources and environmental carrying capacity are important aspects of both academic inquiry and government policy. Although notable results have been achieved in terms of evaluating both these variables, most researchers have utilized a traditional analytical method that incorporates the “pressure-state-response” model. A new approach is proposed in this study for the comprehensive evaluation of regional resources and environmental carrying capacity; applying a “pressure-support”, “destructiveness-resilience”, and “degradation-promotion” (“PS-DR-DP”) hexagon interaction theoretical model, we divided carrying capacity into these three pairs of interactive forces which correspond with resource supporting ability, environmental capacity, and risk-disaster resisting ability, respectively. Negative carrying capacity load in this context was defined to include pressure, destructiveness, and degradation, while support, resilience, and promotion comprised positive attributes. The status of regional carrying capacity was then determined via the ratio between positive and negative contribution values, expressed in terms of changes in both hexagonal shape and area that result from interactive forces. In order to test our “PS-DR-DP” theory-based model, we carried out a further empirical study on Beijing over the period between 2010 and 2015. Analytical results also revealed that the city is now close to attaining a perfect state for both resources and environmental carrying capacity; the latter state in Beijing increased from 1.0143 to 1.1411 between 2010 and 2015, an improved carrying capacity despite the fact that population increased by two million. The average contribution value also reached 0.7025 in 2015, indicating that the city approached an optimal loading threshold at this time but still had space for additional carrying capacity. The findings of our analysis provide theoretical support to enable the city of Beijing to control population levels below 23 million by 2020.

Key words: resources and environmental carrying capacity, “pressure-support”, “destructiveness-resilience” and “degradation-promotion” model;, evaluation, Beijing