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In my fantasy world, the forests are massive, reaching for miles and miles over the country, full of amazing creatures and just wonderful things. The thing is, I want my world to be relatively young, so the trees aren't necessarily very old yet. The whole story around giants is that they were driven from their homeland into the forest, where they live, spreading myths about them to keep people out of the forest. I must clarify, these giants aren't huge, bulky and stupid. I hate that stereotype, though I won't judge you if you use it. The giants in my world are more like incredibly tall people. Have you ever met a really tall, slender person? That's kind of what my giants are like, just a bit taller - about three times the length of an average human.

Though for my giants to live comfortably in the forest, the trees need to be relatively tall, right? I'm thinking about making their home in a valley, where there are fewer trees, but they still need to move through the forest to get places.

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    $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Mar 24, 2022 at 6:36
  • $\begingroup$ So your worries are lying in whether giants can move comfortably in the forest? In that regard, are your giants a exactly scaled-up-by-3 humans, or are there differences : Wider/slimmer body, bigger/smaller head...? The more details you can give about their average anatomy, the better it is. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2022 at 14:07
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    $\begingroup$ Most forests in the real world are 7-10" tall, far too small for even a mediocre giant to fit into, let alone an entire population. Instead, your giants should live in IKEA stores. IKEA stores are large retail buildings with warehouse-style ceilings that could easily accommodate beings up to 20' tall or so. Plus, there's plenty of home furnishings and Swedish meatballs. Honestly, I don't know how this solution didn't occur to you. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Mar 24, 2022 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ How did the forests get so big without getting old? $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 24, 2022 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnO The giants would be good at getting heavy things off the top shelf of the warehouse. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 24, 2022 at 19:59

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Yes, they can travel within forests

Depending on the forest tree type, trees can reach much higher altitudes than what your giants are tall, so the risk of stumbling on a branch is quite low. Also, some trees give of branches only at higher altitude, making only the trunk an issue. To give you three instances of high trees forests :

  • The Pacific Northwest forest is quite known for their big, big trees. Plus, the branches start to really span only at a high level.

Pacific Northwest forest trail It's your lucky day! You can estimate how big your giant would look like with these two hikers there :). Photo from Wikimedia Commons

  • The Landes forest in France's southwest is composed of a vast majority of Pinus pinaster, or maritime pines in plain English. They usually range between 20 and 30m, and the branches really start to pick up at ~half of it, so quite above your 5-6m giants. Please note it was man-made.
  • If you're more leafy than needly, some deciduous forests can do the job. Here's the temperate forest at the Othe's domain. Not the best, but it's still livable.

Picture of the Othe's forest

See the '6' and green line mark on the front tree in the centre? These paints usually stand at around 1 to 1.5m, so you can make a rough scale with it. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Also, I guess that wasn't what you had in mind, but if you take your definition of "forest" further, thorn forests in semi-arid areas can be a choice, too, since trees can be quite scarce there. However, take some good boots to protect yourself from thorns, there are a lot of those.

But...

I kinda cheated. In order to explain why, you have to know that forests actually live in cycles. Indeed, there's a constant competition for sunlight among vegetation : First bushes come in, then frail, short-lived trees like birch or willow trees, then only the taller, stronger and wider ones you want come in. The pictures above are taken at the later stages, and I've skipped the early stage, bushland photos.

What should you understand from this? First, that your world forests should likely be 200 years old or more in order to reach the later stages. That's around how old the Landes Forest is. Then... In a single woodland region, not all areas will be crossable : Depending on many conditions (soil nutriments and acidity, wildfires...), some areas will be less "developped" than others, leading to smaller trees that can block the way to your giants. The same actually happens to us, humans : The only travelers in some parts of forests are small animals like rabbits and rodents, the bushes being too dense for us.


Side-note

Most if not all animals make trails in woodlands, and if they're sentient and don't like to beat around the bush they do so even more. That's both a nice thing, a risk and an opportunity for you. It's good because trails make it much easier to travel in any land and regardless of size. It's a risk because if your giants existence have to be unproven for commonfolk -like Bigfoot or Nessy-, evident traces of 3m wide dirt roads with big feet marks will move them into reality. But it's also an opportunity because people, when finding the road, will take the chance to exagerate the proportions of the giants when retelling the myth. So think about it 🐶!

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  • $\begingroup$ tracks are uncommon on beaten paths. They may take them for all sorts of large creatures. $\endgroup$
    – Mary
    Mar 24, 2022 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Mary Unless there has been rain recently (muddy terrain, my trekking shoes can tell), or said creature weighs at the very least more than 500kg (square-cube law) and stand on two feet instead of four like most beasts. Even if they were considered as large creatures only, my point still stands : If an hiker or hunter find these traces, the proofs of a "very big mythical beast" comes from "none or very dubious" to "quite serious". Like the Yeti has no serious proof of existence vs deers who shed antlers here and there, even if we could mistake them for mooses or elks. $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2022 at 15:26
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I want my world to be relatively young, so the trees aren't necessarily very old yet

Unless your world was created magically in the very recent past, this won't really be an issue. Trees may take hundreds of years to grow to their full mature size, but they take many millions to evolve on a planet that probably took billions of years to solidify and cool nicely.

If your world was magically created, can't the trees be bamfed into existence fully formed?

If they can't be created as adult trees, that raises some tricky questions about how the biosphere of your world was put together, and why giants were created before the rest of the ecosystem was ready.

Also consider that plants like giant bamboo are extraordinarily fast growing. Phyllostachys edulis makes for commercially viable "timber" in 10 years, and can produce "trunks" that are 28m long and nearly 20cm wide. Some bits are edible too, by way of a bonus.

Though for my giants to live comfortably in the forest, the trees need to be relatively tall, right?

Historically, humans seemed to have spent quite a bit of time in savannah like areas, with wide grasslands and comparatively sparse, short trees (at least compared to something like a rainforest, or deciduous forest or taiga or whatever) and they've done just fine.

What they mostly need to be comfortable is a decent supply of food, and big bodies need plenty of calories. It is awkward to farm woodland for food crops and hard to raise herds there, but maybe they have elephants and orchards. Big hunter-gatherers will have a very sparse population unless there's some extremely generous source of nutrients available. In any case, the height of the trees doesn't necessarily correlate with the ability of the giants to feed themselves, though if the trees are all small it might make building shelter somewhat awkward.

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Bare Trunks

The trees in the forest don't look like this:

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They look like this:

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The branches start a few metres above the ground. Plenty of room for giants to walk around.

The age of the tree can be judged by the width of the trunk. I'd say these trees are a medium age.

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  • $\begingroup$ If we look at the birch forest photo, we have to take care about the space between each trunk. It's no fun to slip through trees ^^. Even if they're slim I guess giants take a little more space wide-wise, and more if they sit or lean forward. $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2022 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena Agreed the trees would need to be sparser than the ones in the photo. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 25, 2022 at 15:45
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Yes, African Forest Elephants already do

In the link: https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/african-forest-elephant

African forest elephants live in family groups of up to 20 individuals and forage on leaves, grasses, seeds, fruit, and tree bark. Since the diet of forest elephants is dominated by fruit, they play a crucial role in dispersing many tree species, particularly the seeds of large trees which tend to have high carbon content. They are therefore referred to as the 'mega-gardener of the forest'.

They are smaller than the non-forest variety at about 8 to 10 feet in height, so likely right around the height of your giants, but they tromp through dense forest just like any other. Their size would come with the strength to clear a path, though if it is their home, the paths are likely already carved out from years of use.

Totally possible, and the trees are normal height.

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  • $\begingroup$ Caution to be taken : In order to make a way through dense vegetation you need to have some minimal resistances (good clothes, strong skin...) or something to cut a way open (walking stick, knife/machete...). Otherwise you can hurt yourself ^^'. $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2022 at 15:31
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Your giant can easily fit into a forest. As you said, they are only 6 meter tall, so you won't have them picking over three any time soon. Pine or oak are at least twenty meter tall when grown.

What I'm more interested in, is how young your world is. If your giants before being driven to the forest had a homeland, they must have lived there for decades before being driven off, and probably spend more decades spreading said rumor. I don't see how all those events could happen in less than a century, so it would have given even more time for the forest to grow. And when "engineered", a forest can be grown quite quickly. What takes extremely long is the development of a full ecosystem.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi shas, I edited your answer - the first sentence of the second paragraph was a little difficult, so please correct it if I was mistaken in my interpretation. $\endgroup$
    – Joachim
    Mar 24, 2022 at 19:13

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