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Emerald Forest is a location in RWBY that is first mentioned and briefly shown in "The First Step". It also serves as the main setting for most of the Beacon Academy Initiation. A notable location in the forest is the Abandoned Temple, a series of ruins which are the target for the Academy Initiation.
The Emerald Forest serves as the location where the initiation of new Beacon Academy students takes place. It extends away from Beacon Cliff on top of which the academy is situated. Ozpin informs the students that those who enter the forest will meet 'opposition,' which is revealed to be the monsters known as Grimm. In order to monitor the forest and its hostile inhabitants, the school has installed cameras in several locations throughout the woods.
It is unknown exactly how many types of Grimm live in the forest, but it is shown that Beowolves, Ursai, King Taijitus, Nevermores and Death Stalkers take residence there. Some of the Grimm live in caves in the forest and have done so for so long that the caves are decorated with old cave art depicting Humans fighting Grimm. In RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, Creeps and Boarbatusks are also encountered in the forest. There is an abandoned temple at the northern end of the forest from which the students have to retrieve relics and bring them back to the cliffs.
The Emerald Forest is the site of the Beacon Academy Initiation, which new students must take part in before they begin classes and are assigned to teams. Ozpin explains to the new students that their first task is to team up into pairs in the Emerald Forest and retrieve a relic from the abandoned temple to the north.
The students are then launched into the forest on launching pads from the cliffs, with each using different strategies to land safely in the forest. The students quickly begin to pair up and reach the abandoned temple. The members of what would become teams RWBY and JNPR work together to kill a Death Stalker and Nevermore before leaving the forest.
Sometime after the Beacon Academy Initiation, Team RWBY returns to the Emerald Forest in order to investigate breaches in the security network in the area. After fighting through hordes of Grimm on the way, they find that the network was sabotaged by an unknown party. The team also finds several mysterious cages bearing the logo of Merlot Industries, a defunct research and development company.
- The forest's name may be a reference to the Emerald City from The Wizard of Oz.