Scientists from Cambridge University, in collaboration with the Sabah Forestry Department, have found what is probably the tallest tropical tree in the world. The giant was found during an observation flight by conservation scientists who were mapping the forest using a laser range finder that emits laser pulses to measure distances and dimensions to create 3D images.
The Yellow Meranti was measured by a Sabahan tree climber who confirmed the height to be 89.5 meters tall – equivalent to 20 London double decker buses stacked one on top of the other, or just a few meters shorter than London’s Big Ben.
The tree, which is an endangered species, was found in the Maliau Basin Conservation Area, also known as Sabah’s ‘Lost World’. It is one of Malaysia’s last few untouched wildernesses and one of the most diverse forests on earth. This newly discovered tree beat the current record holder by 1.2 meters. That tree, also a Yellow Meranti, was found in Tawau, Sabah and stands at 88.3 meters tall.
Note that this newly discovered tropical tree is by no means the tallest tree in the world, as trees in temperate climates tend to grow taller than those in tropical regions. The tallest trees in the world are usually redwoods which can grow up to 110 meters and the record holder for the tallest known living tree on earth is a redwood in Northern California, christened Hyperion, which is a whopping 115.7 meters.
You can watch a video from Cambridge University on the discovery of the tallest tropical tree below:
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