The Pocket Forests are small, dwindling, isolated forests on Darwin IV, encountered in both the Planitia Australis and the Planitia Borealis.

Evidence in the form of countless fossilized tree stumps scattered throughout the plains had lead the First Darwinian Expedition's chief botanist, Dr. Dorothea Kay the human, to postulate that Darwin IV was once a far warmer and more humid planet. At present the pocket forests account for only about five percent of Darwin IV's surface vegetation; even so, they presented the Expedition with its greatest challenge of exploration. Giant plaque-bark trees, with their massive trunks and twisted boughs surrounded by dense underbrush, made penetrating the forests via hovercone impossible. They had to content themselves with following the occasional stream a few hundred meters into the woods, or more often, simply circling and probing with their instruments.

Basic Description

Darwin IV has many small pocket-forests. They are usually tiny, dense woodlands, with tangled mazes of vines and trunks. Within the emerald confines of the forests, there is a magical nature of these pocket biomes. Golden filtered light pierces the shadows, picking out clusters of leaves, patches of bark, or the foliage-carpeted floor. Small flyers of many species flutter in and out of the sunslight, often flashing vivid colors against the forest's gloom. Enhancing these and other images are the delicate xylophone tones of thousands of striker-nuts, the bell-like seeds of the plaque-bark tree.

The foliage is usually less dense above small streams. There can be many creatures encountered on the rocky banks.

Along the heavily overgrown banks, with the underbrush moving with the passings of furtive, unseen creatures, there can be luminous bio-lights fractured by twigs into strange abstract patterns. Certain parts of the forests can be dark, shadowy and murky.

The canopy foliage is a bit sparser than in the lower layers of the forests.

One of the largest pocket-forests that the Expedition had found and surveyed is a relatively short distance from the Planum Pytheas in Planitia Borealis.

Native Species