This relatively young forest is dominated by Pohutukawa and Rata as well as hybrids of the two. The Mt Tarawera eruption of 1886 devastated forests in this area.
Floods caused by the sudden release of volcanic debris blocking the lake outlet, have also caused huge changes to the upper valley.
Native forest birds such as tui, bellbirds, tomtits, fantails and kereru (or wood pigeon) can often be seen and heard in the area.
Lake Tarawera is home to a range of eels, trout and koura (freshwater crayfish).
Mt Tarawera flora is sub-alpine and mainly consists of ground covers, moss, lichen, herbs and hebes. Due to the altitude, all floras close to the summit is slower to grow and somewhat fragile.