Rucker Index: New
300 foot species
28, 2005 22:05 PST
ENTS: Big news from Down Under
Brett Mifsud, a big tree hunter and even better, a BVP certified
big tree surveyer, informed me back in October of a 92 m
globulus. This is a live, standing tree down in Tasmania that is
300 feet tall.
My previous sources suggest only 5 species over 300 feet back:
1 coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) 370 feet
2 doug fir (Pseudostuga menziesii) 329 feet
3 mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) 318 feet
4 sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) 317 feet
5 giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) 314 feet
Now we have a sixth, blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) 302 feet
This is a laser height -- will need tree climbing confirmation,
will no doubt be forthcoming as Steve Sillett and crowd are
on Oz now and the locals can be a bit territorial......
New 300 foot species
30, 2005 20:21 PST
Sounds like the World Rucker Index just went up. Anyone know the
species accurately measured and still alive?
I am surprised at the ~200' maximum height claim for New World
Considering we have multiple hardwood species over 160' at over
latitude and tuliptree consistently reaches over 170' (178.2 is
wouldn't 200 feet be easily and readily obtained? What is the
basis of the
200' figure and have tropical trees in steep coves in S and C
been measured? I spent 6 months in the interior montane forests
and saw trees I figured were at least 200'. Admittedly, I did
not have the
same "eye" I do now but I have composite photos that
suggest very tall
New 300 foot species
30, 2005 22:01 PST
BVP had world Rucker pegged at 305.4 feet a few years back, but
have some new data from Australia and Borneo and it's been
lifted a bit.
Yep, world Rucker's up to 94.95 m or 311.5 feet. These are all
There are 5 species of conifers (ranks 1,2,4,5,7) , all from
and measured by BVP.
4 species of Eucalypts (ranks 3,6,8, 10) measured by Brett
fellow enthusiasts (the big blue gum needs confirmation, but the
got it has shot some big ones before, so it is reliable, if not
And one species of Dipterocarp measured by us this fall (rank
All ten of these species are over 288 feet.
I agree that 200 feet is on the short side, but according to the
by Al Carder (his 1995 Forest Giants of the World, Past and
the 2005 Giant Trees of Wesern America and the World), there
not any trees far over 200-250 feet in temperate Asia, any of
America, or Africa. Here are some quotes from his books:
Andean wax palm (Ceroxylon andicola) -- tallest palm in the
"measurements have been made that exceed 200 feet"
Alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) -- a tree of the rainforest of
Patagonia "a top height of 240 feet"
Silk-cotton tree, (Ceiba pentandra) -- emergent giant of both
America and West Africa -- "the fact that they reach these
Africa [246 feet] while the tops of teh vast domes of the
hardly attain 200 feet is possibly due to the higher canopy
level of African trees."
Brazil Nut (Bertholletia excelsa) -- "there are very few
tree species in
the Amazon jungle that reach 200 feet. Among the emergents are
excelsa, Ceiba pentandra, and the widely distributed Brazil nut
He also cites a handful of Himalayan trees in the 200-250 foot
a cedar (cedrus deodara)
2 firs (Abies spectabilis and A. pindrow)
and 2 species of spruce (Picea smithiana, and P. spinulosa).
Yes, we need some more solid numbers, but the logging interests
been searching, too, for longer than we have. And while there
may be a
tall tree or two in the 275 foot range hiding out in New World
or Africa, it does seem pretty clear that the loggers would have
reported the monster trees that were reported in the 1800's both
Australia and Pacific NW, and big trees (in the 280+) range have
reported from Borneo for as long as modern logging has been
My main points are these
(1) all temperate and tropical forested regions of the world
species of trees in the 200-250 foot range (or were historically
(2) only three regions have trees in the 275-300 foot range and
on the Pacific Rim -- southern Australia, Indo-Malaysia, and NW
(3) rich soils don't seem to be sufficient (Eastern USA) or
(Borneo, some of Australia) conditions
(4) lack of large scale disturbance does not seem to be
(5) temperate climate with winter rains do not seem to be either
necessary (Borneo) or sufficient (Europe, Patagonia) conditions
(6) This is an evolutionary question really, since we are
five or six different families from wildly different histories
(7) Many of the tallest everywhere are fast growing -- some can
shade, but most like all of the Eucalypts and Doug Fir grow
only in bright light.
I am working up an hypothesis.....but want to hear others.
29, 2002 11:32 PST
I applied the Rucker Index to my database to uncover all of the
places that exceed 200. Here are the results:
Rucker Index locations over 200
United States 292.8
Canada/British Columbia 235.9
Olympic National Park 233.7
Vancouver Island 225.4
Prairie Creek Redwoods 219.1
New South Wales 201.4
The low diversity of trees in some Western forests quickly
reduces the Index to below 200. Humboldt Redwoods SP, for
example, has the world's tallest tree, and 86 trees over 350'.
Due to the overwhelming dominance by redwood, the Index drops
below 200 after only six species are included!
Borneo will probably make this list, but good data are scarce.
30, 2002 11:50 PST
Borneo is one of many SE Asian Islands with tall trees.
Koompasia excelsa is the tallest tropical hardwood at over 265'.
Many of this species have been measured at oer 250'. No super
good data on this, however. Also native to this region is the
Dipterocarpaceae, a family of tall tropical trees. At least a
dozen Dipterocarps have been recorded over 200', with a handfull
measured at over 250'. A Shorea gibsii was recently measured by
Impulse laser at 261'.
The African tropics contain a handful of trees that reach 200',
but not much more.
The New World tropics have no trees that exceed 200'.