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Conservationists discover tallest tropical tree in Sabah’s “Lost World”



June 10, 2016

yellow meranti tallest_tree_borneo455x400.jpgConservationists discover tallest known tropical tree in Sabah’s “Lost World”.

Cambridge University conservation scientists were scanning an area of forest in Malaysia’s Maliau Basin Conservation Area in Sabah, Borneo, when they saw a huge tree sticking out of the forest. They located the tree, a yellow meranti (Shorea faguetiana), on the ground and sent Unding Jami, a local tree climbing expert, to the top with a tape measure.

Jami texted down that the height of the globally endangered tree was 89.5 metres, a new world record for a tropical tree. This beats the previous record holder, an 88.3 metre yellow meranti in nearby Tawau Hills National Park.

The University press release explains Jami didn’t get a chance to take any good images from the top. “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,” he texted.

While this meranti is very impressive for a tropical tree, it doesn’t come close to the record tallest tree in the world, which is currently Hyperion, a 115.7-metre (379.7-foot) coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in California’s Redwood National Park.

“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,” explains lead Cambridge researcher David Coomes in the release. “No one knows why this should be the case.”


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