Song and Steel
The society of the spring elves is typically centered around research and development of their various natural technologies. Often referred to as “machine elves” because of their focus on biological engineering and biomimicry in their technologies, this branch of elves is incredibly adept at adapting the landscape and colonizing new frontiers. They tend toward a semi-nomadic lifestyle that follows a cyclical pattern of colonize > cultivate > harvest > abandon. They typically leave forests or other lush ecosystems where they have previously dwelled.
The machine elves manage to reshape their temporary habitats by means of natural-mechanical constructs and a deep understanding of nature’s cycles.
They are quite resilient and can endure very difficult environments, and their arrival is often similar to weeds filling in a damaged part of an ecosystem. Their tendency toward sudden colonization of an area leads them into much conflict with the local inhabitants, and spring elves are accustomed to being treated as invaders. It is noteworthy, however, that this particular type of elf rarely threatens existing civilizations directly, typically preferring to focus their efforts on reshaping the environment rather than competing directly with an existing population. They do often create indirect threats to nearby civilizations, however, in that their reshaping of the natural terrain can often have effects on nearby agriculture and trade, as well as introducing new species into an area which can prove dangerous to the locals or their crops.
Spring elven settlements can be viewed as temporary fortifications in the same way an organized army would prepare fortresses for conducting a siege. They typically choose areas to settle with good existing natural defenses then further prepare their defenses by creating elaborate earthworks. The defenses are strengthened by the use of aggressive plant species such as grasping thorn vines. They also introduce and cultivate dangerous beasts to further deter attackers. The exact methods and species used for defense vary drastically based on myriad factors, but their methods almost always leave a lasting impact on the local ecosystem. Even if these elves have abandoned a site, it will typically still act as a bastion for wild creatures long after they have left. The cultivated ecosystem will often continue to spread into the surrounding area, albeit at a much slower rate than if the elves were there to guide it.
What exactly inspires the spring elves to abandon their forested fortresses is dependent on my factors, but it often seems they will leave simply out of boredom even when the settlement is flourishing. The main source of their boredom seems to stem from their love of design; they have very quick, perceptive minds that excel at considering a large number of variables while designing a system. When the colony is established enough that most of those variables have become constants, the elf seems to feel a bit claustrophobic and chafes against previous design decisions rather than embracing new possibilities. This emerging desire to work on a completely new canvas rather than perfecting their current work causes many spring elves to completely abandon their colonies. They typically gather up seeds and specimens necessary to found a new colony and seem to travel wherever the wind takes them until they find a good area to settle again.