Disturbances and stressors are often thought as one in the same and while they can have similar effects to agriculture production to rangeland and forest resources there are important differences worth considering. It is important to note these differences because it may change the management approach or practice being considered when dealing with a disturbance event like a flood or persistent stressor such as nitrogen deposition.
Examples of ecological disturbances include fires, landslides, flooding, windstorms and insect and pest outbreaks. Disturbances often come in the form of short-term or temporary changes to the landscape but can have very significant ecosystem impacts. These events often act quickly but with great impact and thereby are able to promote changes to the physical structure of the system.