JUL 03, 2016 2:50 PM PDT

The tropics' tallest tree


“I don’t have time to take photos using a good camera because there’s an eagle around that keeps trying to attack me and also lots of bees flying around.”
 
Unding Jami, a local tree-climber, took on the task of scaling the tree and measuring. Photo Credit: Stephanie Law

This is what Unding Jami reported while he was hanging onto the side of the world’s most recently reported tallest tree in the tropics. Found in the Maliau Basin Conservation Area in Sabah, a state in Malaysian Borneo, the tree is a yellow maranti (Shorea faguetiana)  measuring in 89.5 meters (293.6 feet) and is 1.2 meters (4 feet) taller than the previously record holder, another yellow meranti from Sabah’s Tawau Hills National Park.

The tree was found during during a research project of conservation scientists from the University of Cambridge and the Sabah Forestry Department that used an airborne LiDAR scanner to create 3D images of forest structure. Although the LiDAR technology is precise, to be even more precise the research team sent Jami, a local tree-climber, up the tree with a tape measure.

The result was a height that measures to 20 London double-decker buses or 65 people stacked up head-to-toe. Lead researcher Dr. David Coomes, from Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences says, "Trees in temperate regions, like the giant redwoods, can grow up to 30m taller; yet around 90m seems to be the limit in the Tropics. No-one knows why this should be the case.” A redwood in California’s Redwood National Park holds the record for the tallest tree in the world at 115 meters.
 
Lidar rendering of the tree. Photo credit: Michele Dalponte
 
Although the yellow meranti is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature "Red list," there is currently hope for its conservation. Dr. Coomes explains that the discovery of this particular tree “comes at a critical moment because, set against a backdrop of decades of forest loss, the Sabah government has decided to protect and restore a huge tract of heavily logged forest just to the east of the Maliau Basin. It’s exciting to know that these iconic giants of the forest are alive and well so close to this major restoration project.”

Sabah’s Forestry Department is proud of the conversion in their politics. Partnering with several organizations and research teams, the department is leading restoration and conservation efforts. Sam Mannan, Director of the Sabah Forestry Department states, “Our international collaboration, as in this case, has brought great scientific dividends to the state and we shall continue to pursue such endeavors.”
 


Sources: Treehugger, Mongabay News
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUN 05, 2020
Earth & The Environment
The mangrove threshold with sea level rise
JUN 05, 2020
The mangrove threshold with sea level rise
A new study published in the journal Science reports grim news for mangroves: until humans drastically reduce greenhouse ...
JUN 30, 2020
Plants & Animals
Consequences of Sixth Mass Extinction Threaten Humanity
JUN 30, 2020
Consequences of Sixth Mass Extinction Threaten Humanity
Many scientists have taken note of the rapid decline many of the world species, and several have declared that Earth's s ...
JUL 01, 2020
Cancer
Surgeons use glowing dye in dogs to improve mammary cancer excision practices
JUL 01, 2020
Surgeons use glowing dye in dogs to improve mammary cancer excision practices
A glowing dye could help surgeons leave better “clean margins” during cancer excisions, allowing them to mak ...
SEP 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The fluid dynamics of pelagic snails' movement
SEP 06, 2020
The fluid dynamics of pelagic snails' movement
Warm water pelagic snails don’t get much attention, but they certainly should. The snails move between ocean surfa ...
SEP 14, 2020
Plants & Animals
Preserving the Avocado
SEP 14, 2020
Preserving the Avocado
Rest easy, chips-and-dip lovers, the world's guacamole supply has been secured for future generations.
SEP 17, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Revealing More About the Past With a New Metagenomic Technique
SEP 17, 2020
Revealing More About the Past With a New Metagenomic Technique
Scientists can use advanced genomics techniques to mine samples for all the genetic material they contain.
Loading Comments...