If you look up “tallest tree in Asia” on the internet, it may refer to Menara, a yellow meranti (Shorea faguetiana) tree with a height of 100.8 meters found in Malaysia. The record, however, has now been broken.
The newly discovered giant tree is a Himalayan cypress (Cupressus torulosa) standing in the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon in Bome County of Nyingchi Prefecture, southwest of China’s Xizang Autonomous Region.
It measures 102.3 meters, making it the tallest known tree in Asia and the second tallest tree species in the world after the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in America.
In May 2023, the joint investigation team used a lidar drone, a type of drone that carries a lidar sensor, to accurately map an area with a cluster of Himalayan cypresses.
Soon, they confirmed the existence of the 102.3-meter-tall giant tree.
The investigation was jointly completed by scientists from Peking University, the Xizijiang Conservation Center and the Shan Shui Conservation Center, with the support of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, and the provincial and regional forestry and grassland bureaus.
The cluster was first found by Li Cheng from the Xizijiang Conservation Center. Then a research team led by Guo Qinghua from Peking University took a drone and backpack lidar into the deep forest.
By combining drone lidar technology, they were able to obtain accurate 3D point cloud models of these trees.
A 3D point cloud is a very accurate digital record of certain objects. By using a 3D laser scanner and lidar to measure an area, researchers can easily obtain the dimensions, size and layout data of the object.
The last record for the tallest tree in China was found in 2022: an 83.2 meter tall Abies ernestii var. salouenensis, a type of evergreen fir, in Zayu County in the southwest of Xizang Autonomous Region in China.
The latest discovery rewrites the records of the tallest trees in Asia, and the area is also considered to be now known as the region with the highest height and density of distribution of giant trees in China.
Besides the 102.3-meter Himalayan cypresses, many giant trees over 85 meters are also known in the area, and 25 of them are taller than 90 meters.
Classified as a first-class protected plant species in China, Himalayan cypresses are rare in the wild.
In China, the species is mainly distributed around the southeastern region of Xizang, and a small number of them can be found in the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon National Nature Reserve.
The investigation team hopes to establish a long-term monitoring network of Himalayan cypresses, including their distribution density, population and age.
Featuring high mountains and deep canyons, there are many inaccessible places in the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon. The investigation team called on researchers from all over the country to pay more attention to the region and do more in-depth studies of biodiversity there, because there are still many research gaps.
Provided by Peking University
Citation: 102.3 meters: Research team found Asia’s tallest tree in Xizang, China (2023, July 24) retrieved on July 24, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-07-meters-team-asia-tallest-tree.html
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