Think about the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. That is what ecological tolerance is about; finding something that is ‘just right’. Populations exist in their current habitats because the conditions there are optimal.
All populations need certain factors in order to survive. Food, water, shelter are the most common but what if there was too much sunlight? Or too little soil? Would certain species be able to live there?
If there is slightly too much or too little of an environmental factor, the population size will decrease because individuals are stressed. They have enough time and energy to look after themselves and none for reproduction or care. Go beyond this level and you face intolerance. Individuals are dying or leaving due to terrible conditions.
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