Beech is the second major forest type in New Zealand. This forest becomes more complex with higher rainfall, as found on the west of the Southern Alps. The forests growth appears more luxuriant, largely as a result of the profusion of lichens, mosses, liverworts and moss-like filmy-ferns clothing the forest floor, trunks, and branches of the trees. These lush Beech forests are often swathed in mist.
Beech forests are common in the South Island but also grow in the North Island higher up on mountain slopes, and often above lowland temperate rainforest. Some flat areas in the North Island have Beech forests, but they are found at high altitudes such as the Central Plateau area in the middle of the North Island.