[[quoteright:300:[[VideoGame/WorldOfMana http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Mana_Spirits_by_AceDroid_3320.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Their favorite game? [[ElementalRockPaperScissors Rock-paper-scissors]], [[{{Pun}} naturally]].]]

->''"I speak for the trees! Let 'em grow, let 'em grow!\\
But nobody listens too much, don't you know?\\
I speak for the trees, and I'll yell and I'll shout\\
For the fine things on Earth that are on their way out!\\
They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past,\\
But sometimes I think progress is progressing too fast!\\
They say I'm a fool to oppose things like these,\\
But I'm going to continue to speak for the trees!"''
-->-- '''The Lorax''', Creator/DrSeuss's ''Literature/TheLorax''

The Nature Spirit is a mythical being with a direct tie to nature. This includes your standard fairies, sprites, imps, [[PlantPerson dryads]], nymphs, and occasionally even deities. Usually found in GhibliHills, and they may be a type of GeniusLoci if they're tied to a specific places (frequently a valley or a forest, though dryads are traditionally connected to a particular tree and naļads are tied to a specific body of water).

The exact origin and motivation of the Nature Spirit varies widely. One may be kind and gentle SpiritAdvisor living in peace and harmony, or it may be dangerous, uncompromising KnightTemplar or WellIntentionedExtremist determined to defend nature against [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters man's destruction]]. The most extreme example of the latter results in GaiasVengeance. They may also be very old, to the point of being a TimeAbyss, to emphasize how [[WeAreAsMayflies insignificant human affairs are]].

For the human version, see NatureHero. Mix the Nature Spirit with AnthropomorphicPersonification and you get MotherEarth dressed in a GardenGarment. Occasionally, a virtuous and nature-loving human may [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence be promoted to a Nature Spirit]] upon death, or [[NewPowersAsThePlotDemands when the plot demands it.]] If there's non-nature [[OurSpiritsAreDifferent spirits]] for other natural forces, they can make up the MagicalUnderpinningsOfReality.

This is OlderThanDirt; any of the oldest human myths feature magical beings with a direct tie to nature, such as several cosmic and riverine Egyptian gods.

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!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/PrincessMononoke'' has the deity version of this, though the title character was actually a [[NatureHero Nature Anti-Hero]] who was [[RaisedByWolves Raised By Wolf Gods]].
* Another Ghibli example is [[Anime/MyNeighborTotoro Totoro]]. Although only mentioned once as being "The Keeper of the Forest", [[GreenThumb he certainly shows it.]]
* Celebi is this in the fourth ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' movie, as well as an episode each of the main anime and the ''Chronicles'' spinoff.
** In a more general sense, most of the Pokemon in general have qualities of Nature Spirits.
* The [[PhysicalGods Floor Guardians]] from ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' are beings bound to governing their respective floor of the Tower, an artificial biome built way over 5000 years before the plot begins. Outside of the Tower, folklore knows them as ''Fae''. They take the form of various animals, for instance a [[HairRaisingHare humanoid rabbit]] and a gargantuan beaked eel. On their floor, they govern the AppliedPhlebotinum known as Shinsoo, which fuels the series functional magic.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'': the True Ancestor vampires, who were considered to be the perfect existences created by the Earth (in order to defend against humanity's contradiction against nature, as humans are capable of being able to survive after the planet's death), had near-limitless power due to their connection with the planet. Arcueid (the last remaining True Ancestor) is very possibly the most powerful being on the planet... She can defeat virtually anything that comes against her, despite having to use 70% of her power just to hold back her [[UnstoppableRage vampiric blood-lust]].
* All over the place in ''MonColleKnights''.
* Many of the demons in ''Manga/{{Amatsuki}}'' are connected to nature, particularly the tree guardians like Tsuyukusa.
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[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* "The Firebird Suite" in ''Disney/{{Fantasia 2000}}''.
* Crysta and the other fairies in ''WesternAnimation/FernGullyTheLastRainforest''. Hexus on the other hand is a spiritual [[MadeOfEvil embodiment of destruction and chaos]].
* Aisling from ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfKells'' is this combined with being one of TheFairFolk.
* The Leafmen from {{WesternAnimation/Epic}} are guardians of their forest, although the actual magical one is Queen Tara, being capable of bringing countless plants to life with little more than a passing glance. Any plant in her immediate vicinity will move to grant her safe passage wherever she needs to go, she can control plants defensively and offensively, and even the trees [[spoiler: shield her dying form from a thunder storm]].
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[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/HellboyII: The Golden Army,'' the elf-prince Nuada sends out a forest god against Hellboy & co. It begins as a bean, and [[AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever grows substantially when it hits the water...]]
* The nature deity in ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' starts off in harmony with its indigenous people, but becomes ticked off when humans attack and rallies the forces of nature against them.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/TheLastUnicorn'''s title character.
* All over the place in the ''ChroniclesOfNarnia'', emerging from the background mostly in ''Prince Caspian'' and ''The Last Battle''.
* The Wraiths of Andelain in ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'' are noncorporeal beings that help to safeguard the region of Andelain from harm.
* In Thomas Burnett Swann's contemporary fantasy story ''The Dryad-Tree'' a newlywed bride becomes convinced that the tree in her husband's garden is possessed by a jealous dryad.
* Tom Bombadil in ''Literature/LordOfTheRings''.
* MercedesLackey adores nature spirits, and they appear in almost all her works.
* Also found in TanyaHuff's ''Quarters'' novels as representations of the four quarters (elements).
* [[Creator/DrSeuss "I am the Lorax! I speak for the trees!"]]
* ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' has the twelve Guardians of the Beams, who manifest as a bear, turtle, lion, hare, elephant, bat, horse, snake, fish, bird, wolf, and rat.
** And they're apparently cyborgs.
*** It's left ambiguous as to whether the cyborgs are the ''original'' spirits (and thus inspired the legends), or are replacements for the beings which departed when the [[{{Gotterdammerung}} magic went away]].
* Creator/AlgernonBlackwood was fond of this trope; his variants tend to fall somewhere between TheFairFolk and EldritchAbomination.
* Following the ancient Greek myths, there are many nature spirits in PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians. There are of course dryads and water nymphs, as well as satyrs who are tied to nature as a whole. However, Pan, God of the Wild, has gone missing, so these nature spirits are suffering, and have put their last hopes on finding him. [[spoiler: Grover eventually does; Pan explains that it is up to him and the rest of life to protect the environment, and dies.]]
* An extremely dark portrayal in Creator/ArthurMachen's ''Literature/TheGreatGodPan'': [[HumanoidAbomination Helen Vaughan]] is the daughter of Pan, the Greek god of nature. Machen depicts him as an EldritchAbomination linked to Satan. [[DontGoInTheWoods Don't go in the woods with Helen]].
* The Green Mouse from RobinJarvis's ''Literature/DeptfordMice'' series.
* They exist in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', their exact power range varies from entity to entity. Harry occasionally summons one for information.
** However, [[TheFairFolk the Summer Court and Winter Court]] are all extremely powerful. Summer's magic is mostly earth, fire, and light based, but also related to life and renewal. Their royalty are just as powerful as the Winter Court, who rule water, air, and darkness. Harry despairs when he has to match wits with a gruff sorcerer (of the Three Billy Goats Gruff tale and an agent of Summer) who has three trophies from three Senior Council wizards he has killed.
** There are also wyldfae, those spirits who don't live and follow under the Queens specifically. Instead, they follow the Erlking, king of the goblins, for more Summer aligned fae, and Kringle, a truly BadassSanta, for more Winter aligned. Both, however, represent the hunters in nature and every year ride out on Halloween in TheWildHunt.
* Literature/TheBelgariad had the Dryads that live in Southern Tolnedra.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'' -- like its Japanese counterpart, ''Series/HyakujuuSentaiGaoranger'' -- had the Rangers receive the power of the Great Beasts, powerful spirits representing nature and animal-kind, to fight against the Orgs, spirits of corruption and pollution. ''Gaoranger'' was more explicit about this, with the Orgs basically being corrupted nature spirits.
* ''{{Series/Charmed}}'' has the Wood Nymphs - creatures that use their magic to make nature grow. Their presence causes flowers to bloom. They're also guardians of the Eternal Spring - whose waters make the drinker immortal. Other Nature Spirits such as gnomes and garden fairies are alluded to in various episodes.
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[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]
* ClassicalMythology has nymphs such as naiads, dryads, and gods such as Helios and Luna; all the way up to vast cosmic gods like Gaia (the earth), Ouranos (the sky), Nyx (night), and Hemera (day).
* Some of the Japanese kami are nature spirits.
* All pagan and shamanic mythologies feature nature spirits in one form or another, since they are important holdover from ''animism'', an earlier form of spirituality upon which shamanism and paganism are based.
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[[folder:Pinball]]
* ''Pinball/WhiteWater'' has the Spirit of the River, who grants a random award to the player.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'', Rashemen has a high density of such creatures.
** One example of such in the computer game ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2: Mask of The Betrayer'' is ProudWarriorRace Spirit Bear Okku.
* In the ''Oriental Adventures'' setting of TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons, there is a race known as Spiritfolk who are essentially {{Half Human Hybrid}}s of humans and Nature Spirits.
* Nature Spirits are what makes the {{Magical Native American}}s...''magical''...in ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}''. Such spirits occupy a moral [[TrueNeutral middle ground]] between TheLegionsOfHell and The {{Heaven}}ly [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Host]]. In-keeping with a shamanistic [[ReligionIsMagic magical religion]], Native Americans who know how can attract the attention of the spirits and convince them to lend aid.
** Nature is not immutable, though. Some of the Nature Spirits are still around in ''Deadlands: [[AfterTheEnd Hell on Earth]]'', while some others have been...[[FromBadToWorse warped]]. If you ever wanted to play something called a "smog shaman", now's your chance!
* The [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Garou]] of ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' consider themselves [[GaiasVengeance soldiers on behalf of Gaia]], a goddess-level spirit representing Earth as a vital entity. They also consider the Wyld, the embodiment of primal chaos and growth, an ally in their fight -- though, in a bit of a subversion, most werewolves hold the Wyld at arm's length because it can be... unpredictable.
* In TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} the [[TheFairFolk Wood Elf]] army includes Dryads. Who apparently are quite pretty and sylph-like off the battlefield, but when outsiders meet them tend to be horrible spiky tree monsters. And then there are the actual [[OurGiantsAreBigger Tree Men]]. And the sprites used as ''personal weapons''. And the Wood Elf king, who leads TheWildHunt. On foot.
* In TabletopGame/DragonDice, Naiads and Dryads are an essential part of the Treefolk race/army. They are the cavalry and mages for the race, and are quite likely to be found in most Treefolk armies.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Nobilis}}'', the Mythic World operates ''entirely'' based on these. According to the rules there are approximately a trillion trillion nature spirits in the world - this is a big deal because instead of the universe being "some big uncaring thing you must deal with" it is "a big uncaring ''people'' you must deal with" - one can convince a car to keep moving even without gasoline, converse with mountains and many such things. Granted, in most games only the most important spirits play a big role, but just knowing they are there is important.
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[[folder:Toys]]
* The Element Lords in ''{{Bionicle}}''.
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[[folder:Videogames]]
* ''SamuraiShodown's'' Nakoruru [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence became one]].
* So did [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Aeris]], according to some interpretations.
* Wisps--and, indeed, many Night Elf units--in ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} III''.
** VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft's Shaman get their power from elemental spirits. How powerful the spirits are can vary from place to place. [[GameplayAndStorySegregation This has no effect on Shamans in-game of course.]]
* The Harvest Sprites and Harvest Goddess in the various ''HarvestMoon'' games.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' games are rife with nature spirits, from almost literal spirits like the fire elementals, to [[BeastMan weird humanoid rat-monkeys and bug beasts]].
** One of the main characters, Viktoria, is a typical dryad / wood nymph.
* Every nature commune in ''{{VideoGame/Lusternia}}'' has two nature spirits: a patron animal and an aspect of the earth. Serenwilde has Mother Moon and White Hart (a stag); Glomdoring has Mother Night and Mighty Crow (a crow, obviously); and Ackleberry has Sister Lake and Brother Bear (natch).
* After saving Dragon's Roost Island (or that's how you're supposed to do it), Link meets the god of winds, Zehpos, who rewards him with his first melody for the ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker''. Later Link meets Zephos' ill-tempered brother, Cyclos.
** Link of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' needs to save the spirits of the Sacred Springs, who guard not only their springs but the regions that the springs feed into.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' features the Great Deku Tree and Lord Jabu-Jabu, who evidently guard the forests and Zora's Fountain, respectively. They make cameo appearances in ''Wind Waker'' as well.
* The ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' games use this trope several times. There's the Dryad and the forest fairies in the first game, the Guardian of the Heart of the World in the third, and the Leshy in the fourth. Many of these will kill you if you attempt to harm any part of the environment.
* Fairies are this in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}''. They're a somewhat unusual take, as they're not particularly concerned about nature, preferring to play around and [[{{Mooks}} attack player characters]].
** Oh, and ''Perfect Memento in Strict Sense'' suggests that [[GreenThumb Yuuka]] is something similar.
* The Elementals/Spirits from the ''VideoGame/WorldOfMana'' series. Sprits of the various forms of the life-energy known as Mana. Each one represents a different element, and they usually can be found guarding CosmicKeystones that personify their elements (Whether that is seeds or stones depends on the game). In the games in which they appear, they are generally responsible for the main character's magic abilities. They include [[PlayingWithFire Salamander/Salamando]], [[MakingASplash Undine]], [[DishingOutDirt Gnome]], [[BlowYouAway Djinn/Sylphid]], [[CastingAShadow Shade]], [[LightEmUp Wisp/Lumina]], [[{{Lunacy}} Luna]], and [[GreenThumb Dryad]]. ''VideoGame/LegendOfMana'' replaced Luna with [[ExtraOreDinary Aura]], but no other game has done so.
** ''VideoGame/SeikenDensetsu3'' also introduced the eight God-Beasts, renamed Benevoldons when they returned in ''VideoGame/ChildrenOfMana''. They also personify the elements, but they have a much more dangerous reputation. When the Mana Stones are broken, they are prophesied to run amok, potentially destroying the world for throwing the balance of nature ''off''-balance.
* Sakuya in ''{{Okami}}'' and arguably Amaterasu as well.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVII'', the heroes have to awaken and round up all four Elemental Spirits throughout the course of the game. They can be fought as {{Bonus Boss}}es, as well.
* In "VideoGame/NeverwinterNights", there is a "Spirit of the Wood" that looks like a white deer.
* The Sylvari, one of the playable races in ''GuildWars2'' are essentially this - a race of plants united by an unconscious HiveMind who mimic the humanoid form only out of convenience and have an innate ability to manipulate nature, especially other plants.
* In a twisted variation, [[spoiler: The Gohma]] from ''AsurasWrath'' are [[spoiler: Embodiments of the planet's rage, and thanks to [[GodIsEvil Chakravartin]] that rage was able to take form as Vlitra.]]
* Viridi from ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'', the goddess of nature. [[spoiler:For the first arc after Medusa's defeat, she becomes the ArcVillain after trying to kill humans due to them exploiting nature.]]
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonGatesToInfinity'', there's the Voices of Life, guardians of nature who embody its will to survive and take a physical form as a Pokemon when there's a grave threat that needs to be addressed. The sole one who plays an active role in the story is [[spoiler: Hydreigon, who is [[NiceGuy far kinder]] then [[ObviouslyEvil his appearance]] would imply.]]
* ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'', [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters given the nature of the game]], has more than a few as playable champions. Udyr in particular is host to four different spirits (Tiger, Bear, Turtle, Phoenix).
* Franchise/TheElderScrolls series has the Spriggans, tree-like creatures that sometimes hide inside trees, are almost always hostile, can control animals, and tend to appear in significant numbers whenever the player harms something in nature.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' features Nymphs in two categories - antagonists who appear as enemies in battle and benevolent creatures, that give the party money and AP in exchange for ore.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* The spirits in WebComic/{{Blindsprings}} seem to be this.
* Iri in WayfarersMoon gets very unfriendly when people torture those for their own ends.
* They interact with certain members of the Clan of the Hawk in TheWanderingOnes. Some, like First Man and Flame's leafy friends, are benign. However, [[TricksterArchetype Coyote]] also shows up to teach Bobbie and Max, and let's just say he lives up to his reputation.
* Finnish deities in ''Webcomic/StandStillStaySilent'' are apparently nature spirits. So far, we know only of Vellamo (water goddess) and Kuutar (moon goddess), but "[[FictionalDocument Nations of the World]]" page state that Finns have "many gods", including forest ones.
* Animal spirits in ''Webcomic/ARedtailsDream'', including Fox family ([[LargeHam Lucky Fox]], [[RoyalBrat Puppy Fox]], [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Mother Fox]] and many more), [[TheObiWan Mr Moose]], [[CowardlyLion Ms Seal]], [[FriendToAllLivingThings Mr Bear]] and [[{{Psychopomp}} birds of Tuonela]] among others.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', nymphs are agile female creatures with ebony skin and cat-like eyes who are in tune with nature, live in Libaterran forests and have intimate encounters with travellers, which makes books of lore refer to a nymph as the "ranger's fondest conquest". It serves as a plot point once it's revealed that the nymphs are seducing travellers because they need them to become pregnant; a magical curse makes nymphs only give birth to females of their kind and thus they need males from other races to keep their bloodline going. The [[TheFairFolk Faerfolc]] are the forefathers of the elves who also reside in Libaterran forests, and they act as protectors of the earth and see themselves superior to elves and thus fit to rule elvenkind.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* CaptainPlanet could be seen as a form of this; the show also featured Gaia, who definitely counts.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' is rife with this. Guest stars include the spirit of a local forest, a river-goddess, and the spirits of the Moon and the Ocean. Aang himself, the Avatar, was originally suggested to be this in and of himself, but it turns out he's [[spoiler: just the reincarnation of a regular human who bonded with the Big Good of all spirits.]]
** And in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', we have Avatar Korra, Aang's reincarnation.
* ''WesternAnimation/BarbiePresentsThumbelina'' has the tiny Twillerbees, who live in a field of flowers, have the power to make plants grow at an alarming rate, and regularly converse with animals.
[[/folder]]

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