Environmental factors can be sudden and catastrophic events like hurricanes and earthquakes, or they may be slow, incremental processes like erosion or reforestation. They are agents of change, destructive or regenerative. The health of ecosystems and the individual organisms that depend on ecosystems depends largely on the stability of environmental factors such as rainfall, air quality, fair weather, or a balance of animals in the food chain.
But Nature is dynamic, and systems adjust, sometimes painfully, to changes in their components. Plants and animals are in constant competition with each other, always seeking the slightest advantage for survival; hardship for one may be opportunity for another. Destruction and recovery are really points of view.
Did You Know?
The Machineel tree, found along the coast, produces crab apple-like fruit that is poisonous. While the fruit is deadly [as Columbus’ men reportedly found out in 1493 when visiting the island], even sap from the Machineel tree can cause an irritating skin rash. The tree is also called Death Apple.