During recent decades, the mean daily temperature rose dramatically, and annual rainfall increased but continued to vary from year to year by a factor of four, though with no regular pattern. Increased rainfall is generally associated with an increased abundance of trees, unlike what happened at Amboseli. Research on rainfall, groundwater history, and soils suggested that the area is very sensitive to changing amounts of rainfall.
During dry periods, the salty ground water sinks lower into the earth, and the soil near the surface has a relatively low salt content. The fever trees grow well in the non salty soil. During wet periods, the groundwater rises closer to the surface, bringing with it salt, which invades the root zones of trees and kills them. As with any new social or political issue, at first relatively few people recognized its importance.
Those who did found it necessary to stress the problems to emphasize the negative in order to bring public attention to environmental concerns. Adding to the limitations of the early approach to environmental issues was a lack of scientific knowledge and practical know-how. Environmental sciences were in their infancy. Their solution was a new world view that depended only secondarily on facts, understanding, and science.