Elephant damage was thought to be a major factor because elephants had stripped bark from more than 83% of the trees in some areas and had pushed over some younger, smaller trees. However, researchers concluded that elephants played only a secondary role in changing the habitat. As the density of fever trees and other wood- land plants decreased, the incidence of damage caused by elephants increased.
In other words, elephant damage interacted with some other, primary factor in changing the habitat. The Amboseli story illustrates that many environmental factors operate together, and that causes of change can be subtle and complex. The story also illustrates how environmental scientists attempt to work out sequences of events that follow a particular change.
At Amboseli, rainfall cycles change hydrology and soil conditions, which in turn change the vegetation and animals of the area, and these in turn impact the people living there. To understand what happens in natural ecosystems, we can’t just look for an answer derived from a single factor. We have to look at the entire environment and all of the factors that together influence what happens to life. The problem is that the Earth has not grown any larger. The environment became a popular issue.