The 94.1 m tall Shorea faguetiana in Danum Valley
The race to find the tallest tropical trees is on and one after another we learn about new discoveries. In November 2016 there was reported new record – in Danum Valley, Sabah was found 94.1 m tall tree – specimen of Shorea faguetiana. This wass the tallest known tree in tropics until 2019, when a Menara – a 100.8 m tall yellow meranti was found and measured nearby.
Diameter of the trunk
Map of the site
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Danum Valley Conservation Area was established in 1995 to protect the lush rainforest of eastern Sabah. This protected area is 438 km² large and nearly pristine – there are no human settlements. In some parts of the area have been developed tourist facilities but most of Danum Valley is a pristine rainforest with very high biological diversity. Such precious and rare inhabitants as Borneo orangutans, Müller’s Bornean gibbons, clouded leopards, mousedeer, and even some Borneo elephants still are living here.
Very high is the plant diversity – here are known more than 15,000 plant species. Some of the most impressive ones are the giant trees – numerous species of Dipetrocarpus and Shorea.
This is one of the oldest forests in the world, existing in this place for more than 130 million years!
The giant Shorea faguetiana
Very tall trees in Danum Valley were discovered in 2016 and were first reported by Mr. Gregory Asner from the Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University in conference "Heart of Borneo" on the 8 – 9th November.
He had the opportunity to use a helicopter over the Danum Valley. Earlier laser scanning of Carnegie Airborne Observatory brought information that there are some 50 trees with a height of over 90 m. Earlier there were not known any trees in the tropics above 90 m of height.
The tallest of these newly discovered trees was 94.1 m tall, with two other trees of similar height next to it. The crown of this giant is 40.3 m in diameter.
Tree belongs to Shorea – species-rich genus with at least 138 species in Borneo island. Currently, the tree has no special name given.
An expedition by the Forest Research Centre of the Sabah Forestry Department in early 2017 confirmed the species of the tree – this is Shorea faguetiana (2).
Only some months earlier there was reported the previous record bearer of tropical trees: yellow meranti tree (Shorea faguetiana) in the nearby Maliau Basin. It is a bit more than 90 m tall.
These exciting discoveries testify: the tropical forest of Borneo is very special and unique. Unfortunately, these forests are quickly lost due to the encroachment of human activities.
- Mongabay, World’s tallest tropical tree discovered, along with nearly 50 other record-breakers, 10 November 2016. Accessed on December 23, 2016.
- Brandon John, ‘Seraya kuning siput’ is world’s tallest tropical tree, New Straits Times, 11 March 2017. Accessed on 5th April, 2019.
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