A struggle for existence inevitably follows from the high rate at which all organic beings tend to increase.
In looking at Nature, it is most necessary to keep the foregoing considerations always in mind--never to forget that every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers; that each lives by a struggle at some period of its life; that heavy destruction inevitably falls either on the young or old, during each generation or at recurrent intervals.
The action of climate seems at first sight to be quite independent of the struggle for existence; but in so far as climate chiefly acts in reducing food, it brings on the most severe struggle between the individuals, whether of the same or of distinct species, which subsist on the same kind of food.
When a species, owing to highly favourable circumstances, increases inordinately in numbers in a small tract, epidemics--at least, this seems generally to occur with our game animals--often ensue: and here we have a limiting check independent of the struggle for life.
Many cases are on record showing how complex and unexpected are the checks and relations between organic beings, which have to struggle together in the same country.
What a struggle between the several kinds of trees must here have gone on during long centuries, each annually scattering its seeds by the thousand; what war between insect and insect--between insects, snails, and other animals with birds and beasts of prey--all striving to increase, and all feeding on each other or on the trees or their seeds and seedlings, or on the other plants which first clothed the ground and thus checked the growth of the trees
This is often the case with those which may strictly be said to struggle with each other for existence, as in the case of locusts and grass-feeding quadrupeds.
As species of the same genus have usually, though by no means invariably, some similarity in habits and constitution, and always in structure, the struggle will generally be more severe between species of the same genus, when they come into competition with each other, than between species of distinct genera.
All that we can do, is to keep steadily in mind that each organic being is striving to increase at a geometrical ratio; that each at some period of its life, during some season of the year, during each generation or at intervals, has to struggle for life, and to suffer great destruction.