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Laurel forests are common in subtropical eastern Asia, and form the climax vegetation in far southern Japan, Taiwan, southern China, the mountains of Indochina, and the eastern Himalayas.

In southern China, laurel forest once extended throughout the Yangtze Valley and Sichuan Basin from the East China Sea to the Tibetan Plateau.

Many of the late Cretaceous – early Tertiary Gondwanan species of flora became extinct, but some survived as relict species in the milder, moister climate of coastal areas and on islands.

These conditions of temperature and moisture occur in four different geographical regions: Some laurel forests are a type of cloud forest.In this sense, the laurel forest is a transitional type between temperate forests and tropical rainforests.Laurel forests are composed of vascular plants that evolved millions of years ago.Plants from the laurel family (Lauraceae) may or may not be present, depending on the location. Laurel forests typically occur on the slopes of tropical or subtropical mountains, where the moisture from the ocean condenses so that it falls as rain or fog and soils have high moisture levels.Some evergreen tree species will survive short frosts, but most species will not survive hard freezes and prolonged cool weather.

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