Friday, November 11, 2016

World's Tallest Tropical Tree Located

credit: Carnegie Institution for Science
It rises along with two of its siblings to an astounding 309 feet above the rain forest floor of Sabah, Borneo.  It is the world's tallest tropical tree, measured by LIDAR overflights.  The Shorea faguetiani or Yellow Meranti (provisional) was located by Gregory Asner of the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University during a mapping survey of the relatively undisturbed Danum Valley. He also located 49 other trees taller than the previously announced record holder at 294 feet.  Film director James Cameron, who directed the Avatar science fiction film about the industrial exploitation of an extraterrestrial forest world appropriately funded the helicopter flight.  Asner told an audience that the location was extremely moving to him and provides yet another example of the power of nature that can inspire man to protect other forms of life on his home planet.  He noted that trees of this immense size and age do not exist outside of undisturbed, primary forest.  This tree is six times the average length of a sperm whale*.  The LIDAR mapping technique [image] uses 500,000 laser beams per second shot from a helicopter to produce a three dimensional image of the forest canopy to ground level.

*The tallest coast redwood tree living in Redwood National Park, California is 379.1 feet tall.  Hyperion is said to be the world's largest living tree.  Park officials should be extremely vigilant in protecting this magnificent living creature from insane attacks by vandals, thrill seekers, extremists of various sorts, or just plain idiots.  Hyperion was not located until 2006.  It is named after one of the Titans of Greek mythology, a child of the Earth and Sky.