Lets talk about: arboreal civs

No, i’m not talking about civs created by plant-like entities. In previous years before its launch, Spore promised us a game where you can play not only as an aquatic creature, but also as a subterranean, flying, or arboreal creature. We know the rest of the history…so, to create an arboreal civ first we need to evolve an arboreal creature, with appendages that will allow it to climb trees, like prehensile tails (my favorite part), thumbs, claws…
That kind of civ would have its challenges? yeah, that’s expected, but i think it would be a great adition to Thrive, and will allow us to expand the civs available.


I wonder is the said arboreal civ exclusively arboreal? if so then I could see them either planting trees or making artificial trees in order to have better movement capabilities in early civs.


That’s a good point: if they are 100% arboreal, they could plant trees or made artificial trees, if they are 50% arboreal, maybe they don’t need to do that.

How should Arboreal civs be defined?

Living and producing entirely on trees?

Living only on trees?

Just retaining the ability to move on the tree?

A sufficiently large tree may be needed.

They would probably need to spend at least 50% of their time in trees, plus live and reproduce in the trees.

But, moving on, how could they make fire, metallurgy and engines on trees, as their trees would just catch on fire, and if they try to create fire on the forest floor, they can barely move and would be sitting ducks, meaning unless they have no predators, they cannot create fire and therefore engines.

So in the end, they may just sleep on trees, plant trees as roads, and harvest nuts.

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I would imagine an arboreal monkey-like species would be quite mobile on the ground floor, no? Maybe the species might also be able to fly. Though of course, the ground will probably not be as safe as the treetops indeed.

Planting trees as roads (or a road analogue) pops visions into my head of some kind of futuristic cityscape where sidewalks are thin elevated branches and roads themselves are gondola lines.

That is a good point, and the player probably would make their creatures able to do that, but unless they live on fire-proof trees, they can’t bring the fire with them. There probably is a way around it, but none that I am aware of.

Consider how they transport heavy objects:
Perhaps they will use cable cars and pulleys? The jungle is not an obstacle for them, and some buildings do not need to clear the ground.

Many production activities ultimately have to return to the ground to utilize the land. What kind of motivation will drive them to engage in agriculture and animal husbandry?


Not necessarily, as they can domesticate and farm other arboreal fauna and flora, potentially even domesticating and farming the trees to make them form fruit-giving houses.

That’s a cool idea to think about, with cable cars being the main mode of transport. I can just imagine a civilization of pre-industrial monkey-like creatures riding on water-powered cable cars, jumping and swinging via branches between the carts.


I suppose the carrying weight of the trees is also a factor to take into account. An arboreal civilisation can’t simply nilly-willy build anything in trees: at some point the structure is too heavy to be built in a tree, so it would have to be built on ground level regardless.

At that point the civilisation might be advanced enough to not have to worry too much about ground floor predators anymore, but who knows? Perhaps the ground floor on their planet is dangerous enough to consider building artificial “trees” to build on.

And flames, you can’t metallurgical on trees.

They may try planting trees to build tree houses or building stilted building.

Their planet should be covered by rainforest, and civilization should begin in the transition zone from the cold temperate jungle to the grassland. (There are sufficient trees to maintain arboreal life, and some grasslands develop civilization to avoid excessive rainfall and extinguish fires)

Just like how amphibious species can use both the land and the shallow waters for infrastructure. The high layers of forests are the patch the arboreal species use and can continue to use.

You know they can have controlled fires, right? You can have a furnace on a tree house, you just need to make sure that the smoke is diluted and cooled before it reaches the leaves or the leaves in that region are cleared. When casting metal, you can put an insulater below the mold or you can grab it from the side and never make it contact the tree. Not to mention water exists.

For comparison, the saturn V rocket was 2900 tonnes. It takes 11,5 trees to carry it. Lets say there was a tree road with trees in both sides, the rocket was 110 meters long, so those 6 trees would need to be 18 meters apart from each other or less. Pretty doable. I am not saying thats the easiest way, but you could go all the way in. There are probably some things you can’t have in tree houses, such as a swimming pool, but everything else in a building (such as desks, tables, curtains) can be carried by the tree.

In this thread they were talking about arboreal civs, and the challenges it would have to them to reach high levels of technology,. Granted, it was Earth arboreal species they were talking about, but we can use some of the arguments there to see how Thrive could apply the concept.