Credit by Sabah forest © Mongabay
World's Tallest Tropical Tree Found in Malaysia
NATURE Malaysia

World's Tallest Tropical Tree Found in Malaysia

The world's tallest topical tree was discovered on the island of Borneo last year.  At nearly 309ft, it's as tall as three blue whales stacked end to end.

The discovery was announced five months after what was previously considered the world's tallest tropical tree - a 294ft yellow meranti - was found in Malaysia.

Gregory Asner of the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University revealed the new record breaking tree at a Heart of Borneo conference on November 10, 2016.

The tree - which belongs to the Shorea genus - stands in the state of Sabah. And, not only is it impressive vertically but its canopy also reaches a diameter of 132ft. 

The world's tallest topical tree has been discovered on the island of Borneo - and at nearly 309ft it's as tall as three blue whales stacked end to end
The world's tallest topical tree has been discovered on the island of Borneo - and at nearly 309ft it's as tall as three blue whales stacked end to end

 

The record-breaker was spotted when Asner was mapping the Sabah forest using lidar technology on board a plane. 

The Carnegie Airborne Observatory can image forests and map animal habitat, carbon stocks, and canopy biodiversity by using sensors to precisely measure height, architecture, chemical properties and species of tree.

Carnegie Airborne Observatory - Carnegie Institution for Science
Carnegie Airborne Observatory - Carnegie Institution for Science

 

Asner then went via helicopter - funded by film director James Cameron and the UN Development Programme - to examine the tree with his own eyes.

To his amazement, not only was this particular tree of striking height but it was flanked by other just slightly smaller trees. All these 50 trees exceed the 294ft mark obtained by the yellow meranti in June.

'Conservation needs inspiration, and these sentinels of the Bornean jungle provide that to us. This discovery is a gift to science, to the people of Sabah and Borneo, and to the world,' Asner said
'Conservation needs inspiration, and these sentinels of the Bornean jungle provide that to us. This discovery is a gift to science, to the people of Sabah and Borneo, and to the world,' Asner said

 

'This tallest tropical tree, and the 49 runners-up, are truly phenomenal expressions of the power of nature,' Asner told environmental news website, Mongabay. 

'Conservation needs inspiration, and these sentinels of the Bornean jungle provide that to us. This discovery is a gift to science, to the people of Sabah and Borneo, and to the world.'

Dr. Glen Reynolds, the director of the Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Partnership told the site: 'Trees of this size and age simply don't exist outside of primary forest - so it's crucial that the forests which support these now-rare giants is protected,' he said.

Tallest Tropical Tree | Mysabah.com
Tallest Tropical Tree | Mysabah.com

 

The height of 309ft was compared by Asner to being six times the size of a sperm whale - which, at an average of 52ft, is the largest toothed whale. 

Asner now intends to visit all of the trees to carry out his own studies and learn more about the species. 

However, despite the trees' impressive height, they remain smaller than the tallest non-tropical tree on Earth - a coast redwood in California's Redwood National Park which reaches heights of 377ft. 

 

Source : Dailymail.co.uk

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