Archives of Nethys

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Infinite Worlds / Forest

Forest Worlds

Source Galaxy Exploration Manual pg. 65
It’s not uncommon for terrestrial worlds to have land masses predominantly covered in forests—that is, until native societies reach a phase of rapid industrialization. But a forest planet isn’t necessarily a monoculture of the same trees for countless thousands of miles. Boreal forests, temperate forests, and tropical forests are capable of hosting a multitude of different life-forms and thrive in different environments. A forested planet doesn’t have to consist of only land masses. Forests of kelp or other underwater plants serve as havens for all sorts of life. Forests in tropical environs are the most ecologically diverse, with thick canopies and nutrient-poor soil, and typically stay the same temperature year-round. Temperate forests are more likely to experience seasonal cycles, such as leaves changing color and falling off in autumn and winter and regrowing in the spring. Because of this cycle, creatures typically use the plentiful warmer months to stock up and prepare for the colder, sparser months. The flora and fauna of boreal forests have adapted to extremely cold temperatures; the trees are typically evergreens with needle-like leaves, and the animals have thick coats of fur, feathers, or layers of insulating fat.
Areas that experience a dry season can be at risk of forest fires. While devastating in the short term, these fires serve a purpose by leaving behind fertile soil from which new life can grow. Sapient beings might even utilize this by burning swathes of land to make room for crops. Large fauna can also have a significant impact on the environment, their movement clearing trails on the forest floor that last for generations and are used by many other species. Large creatures might also uproot entire trees, making room for new growth.