Limiting Factors in the Ecosystem

By Ma Wen Jie
A close-up of a green iguana.
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Limiting factors are environmental factors that limit population sizes in a particular ecosystem.


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Food and nutrients are a major limiting factor in ecosystems. If an ecosystem is not able to produce enough food, a percentage of the animals and organisms living in that ecosystem will not survive.


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Temperature limits the types of organisms and animals that can survive in a particular ecosystem, and can affect their overall numbers.


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Living organisms require water. If water is limited, the ability of an ecosystem to support life is limited.

Natural Resources

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Natural resources are a limiting factor for most human populations in ecosystems. If natural resources such as wood for cooking and heat are more limited, a particular ecosystem will be less able to support larger populations of humans.


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Predators limit the growth of some populations. For example, lions limit the growth of gazelle populations by hunting.

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