Biotic potential or reproductive potential is the maximum potential natality or birth rate which can be achieved when the environmental resistances are nonlimiting.Each population has the inherent power to grow. It is designated by the symbol "r".
The biotic potential is realized only when the environmental conditions are nonlimiting, so that the natality rate is maximum and mortality rate is minimum.
Intrinsic rate of natural increase or per capita increase in population is optimum with environmental conditions favoring maximum natality or birth rate and minimum mortality or death rate.
Biotic potential and intrinsic rate of natural increase are very high. A pair of flies if allowed to reproduce unchecked will produce a rapidly growing population that will outweigh the earth in a few years. Although the biotic potential of organisms is enormous but all the organisms do not survive due to the lack of food and space. There are also a number of diseases and the predatory organisms that feed upon other organisms.
The environmental factors which can check the growth of population size constitute the environmental resistance. The number of offspring produced at one time, the time period between the birth events, and the ratio of females to males are some of the factors which influence the biotic potential.