Since the 1970s, resource crisis, environmental pollution and ecological degradation have become prominent globally, and the limits to growth have always been an important theoretical and policy issue. The technological system of early warning and regulation based on carrying capacity evaluation has great potential in natural resource utilization, environmental management and ecosystem conservation. In this paper, the evolution of carrying capacity research and the concept of ecological carrying capacity are summarized, and the existing evaluation methods of ecological carrying capacity are classified into ecological footprint method, comprehensive index system method, ecosystem service analysis method and human appropriation of net primary productivity method. The current problems in ecological carrying capacity study were analyzed and the trend was outlooked. Combined with the special issue, the recent proceeding of ecological carrying capacity study in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) region was narrated, from the aspects of ecological carrying capacity evaluation method and application, the supply and consumption of ecosystem services, and the resources use and environment change. Some suggestions have been proposed to improve the accuracy and reliability of ecological carrying capacity evaluation: 1) the spatial heterogeneity and temporal dynamic change of ecological carrying capacity should be explored furtherly; 2) the interaction between ecological process and human activities should be simulated; 3) factors such as climate change, human activities and ecological products and ecological service flows should be integrated into the evaluation system of ecological carrying capacity.
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