As population increases, animal souls are promoted to human before they are spiritually advanced enough in terms of impulse control, etc.: this shouldn't have happened, but karmic progression is automatic, after all--it's a force of nature. But the 'animalization' of humankind bodes ill for civilization.
No doubt the same goes for elves, dwarves, and so on.
Real World: some Indians in the Amazon treat their eyes with a traditional potion applied with palm leaves. Brutally painful, the drug alters vision, giving the jungle's dense green walls greater texture and dimension. You could adapt this to desert or swamps, or other hard to navigate regions.