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No, we aren't talking about the kind fellow at the national park who wears the snazzy uniform.
We're talking about the forest-dwelling recluse who serves as a self-appointed guardian for their ancient and enchanted home. They may wear green in an attempt to blend in to their forest surroundings. They guard their forest with their bow slung across their back, and would rather take your hat off with an arrow than post a polite notice to please put out your campfire before you leave. In a fantasy setting, expect at least one elf to be this trope.
The Forest Ranger may also be a Nature Hero and have similar associating tropes, however, the Forest Ranger is not a hero and may be a member of a large group of forest dwellers, such as elven city, or even be guard to such a city.
- In Princess Mononoke San acts something like this.
- In Queen's Blade, Allyene moreso than her protege Nowa. They wield staves instead of bows, and use the mobility and cover of the trees they protect.
- Most elves in Magic: The Gathering are this to some extent.
Film -- Animated
- Grandmother Willow in Pocahontas Who WAS a tree.
- So, not exactly a ranger then ... more of a rooter.
Film -- Live Action
- Broken Arrow: The Chick who helps the hero along the way is a forest ranger. She carries a large survival knife and occasionally freaks out over the destruction of important natural features, to comedic effect.
- "I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees..."
- The original fantasy Rangers, those in Lord of the Rings, weren't quite this trope, being more partisans/marchwardens/monster hunters than guardians of nature, but they did dwell in forests, wear green and use bows.
- The Ents were created for this very purpose, according to The Silmarillion.
- Mercedes Lackey is very fond of this trope.
- In her Heralds of Valdemar series, the Tayledras scouts fill this role, keeping people away from the dangerous Pelligras Forest, killing dangerous warped monsters like coldrake, and keeping the inoffensive magical creatures safe from other people and from magical threats.
- In her Obsidian and Enduring Flame trilogies, the elven cities are protected by scouts of this nature.
- Robin Hood is probably the archetypal ranger, one of England's best archers and no slouch with a sword either.
- Any druid from Dungeons and Dragons.
- The Ranger class and many of its five million variants from all versions of Dungeons and Dragons also fits, depending on how you play it. There are a ton of prestige classes from 3rd Edition that are all about defending the forest.
- Many of the primal classes in Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition also count, especially the Warden.
- The Wood Elves from Warhammer Fantasy. They're extremely protective of their forests, and will murder anyone who tries to cut it down. There's a specific class, the Waywatchers, for whom this trope is the entire job description.
- The Elvish Rangers from Battle for Wesnoth, and just about all Elves. And also Woses.
- Final Fantasy V's Ranger class uses bows, wears green, and summons animals to fight alongside it.
- In Gauntlet (1985 video game) the Elf Ranger wears green, protects the forest, and uses a bow.
- Wood Elves and Grand Elves in Heroes of Might and Magic fall under this.
- The factions they go in, the Sorceress' Town, Rampart, Preserve, and Sylvan in I and II, III, IV, and V respectively generally follow this rule with their philosophies.
- In Warcraft, High elves and blood elves (rangers), night elves (sentinels) and Undead elves (dark rangers) have these.
- The Dalish elves of Dragon Age Origins, more territorial than custodial. A Dalish Warden can get lines reflecting this archetype, and bow use is encouraged by the provision of better quality equipment in the Dalish origin story.
- There is also the "Ranger" specialization for the Rogue class, which gives the character a +5 resistance to natural attacks and allows them to summon predatory animals to attack their enemies.
- Dark Souls has The Forest Hunters, effectively The Wild Hunt, guarding Darkroot Forest and the grave of Abysswalker Artorias.
- Dellyn Goblinslayer in Goblins was presumably this (Ranger class, Bow and Sword, half-tree), but he seems to be more inclined to city life now. Then again, he agreed to go adventuring again, so...
- J Audubon Woodlore, of The Ranger of Brownstone.