New 300 foot species   Roman Dial
  Nov 28, 2005 22:05 PST 

ENTS: Big news from Down Under

Brett Mifsud, a big tree hunter and even better, a BVP certified A-O-K
big tree surveyer, informed me back in October of a 92 m Eucalyptus
globulus. This is a live, standing tree down in Tasmania that is over
300 feet tall.

tasmania_a.jpg (38574 bytes) Tasmania landsat image

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, which
will no doubt be forthcoming as Steve Sillett and crowd are converging
on Oz now and the locals can be a bit territorial......

Roman Dial

Re: New 300 foot species
  Nov 29, 2005 07:42 PST 

Sweet!!! Do you think any other species will eventually join the group? Or have the capacity?

RE: New 300 foot species   Robert Leverett
  Nov 29, 2005 10:25 PST 


   Thanks for the exciting update. Two species of Eucalyptus over 300! I
remember that at one time, stories circulated about the species being
much taller. Bogus photographs were circulated. Those were interesting
times. My understanding was that there was a period when competition was
spurred between timber people on the Pacific west coast and those down
under. I've never heard of a similar competition in the eastern U.S.A
such as might have occurred between white pine, tulip tree, and perhaps
loblolly pine. However, that competition now legitimately exists
courtesy of ENTS and so far the white pine has been the clear winner.
Will still has hopes of breaking 180 on the tulips along Baxter Creek or
in that general area. But past or present, I believe that the great
whites and the massive tulips and perhaps loblollies are the clear
rulers of height with hemlock, white ash, and sycamore not far behind.
On occasion a few other species with get an isolated tree up into the
160-foot range, but they are rarities.

Re: New 300 foot species   Jess Riddle
  Nov 29, 2005 22:26 PST 


Thanks for sharing about the new spectacular find in Australia. I've
always been impressed by the growth rates that E. globulus achieves in
California, so it's nice to know what sizes they can achieve in their
native habitat.

Jess Riddle
RE: New 300 foot species   Roman Dial
  Nov 29, 2005 22:52 PST 


I think there is at least one species of 300 foot tree in Borneo waiting
to be found -- And likely a couple other Eucalypts in Australia--
perhaps three species, since they are in the 285 foot range now may be
discovered in the future.

What I think is interesting is that all the really tall trees are in the
Pacific basin: Borneo, Pacific Northwest, and Australia. And that
elsewhere in the world -- Africa, new world outside of Pacific Northwest
~200 feet is the max. That is a substantial difference, really.

Any hypotheses out there as to why?
Re: New 300 foot species   Kirk Johnson
  Nov 30, 2005 15:04 PST 

Temperate rainforests, such as those in the Pacific northwest, seem to
provide the ideal environment for tree species, particularly conifers, to
maximize their height potential. Along the coastal regions of the Pacific
Northwest, temperatures are moderated, and moisture is provided, by
upwelling offshore ocean currents. This has been a constant condition for
tens of thousands of years.

An interesting article on this topic is:

Waring, R.H. and J.F. Franklin. 1979. Evergreen coniferous forests of the
Pacific northwest. Science 204 : 1380-1385

Summary: The massive, evergreen coniferous forests in the Pacific Northwest
are unique among temperate forest regions of the world. The region's forests
escaped decimation during the Pleistocene glaciation; they are now dominated
by a few broadly distributed and well-adapted conifers that grow to large
size and great age. Large trees with evergreen needle- or scale-like leaves
have distinct advantages under the current climatic regime. Photosynthesis
and nutrient uptake and storage are possible during the relatively warm, wet
fall and winter months. High evaporative demand during the warm, dry summer
reduces photosynthesis. Deciduous hardwoods are repeatedly at a disadvantage
in competing with conifers in the regional climate. Their photosynthesis is
predominately limited to the growing season when evaporative demand is high
and water is often limiting. Most nutrients needed are also less available
at this time. The large size attained by conifers provides a buffer against
environmental stress (especially for nutrients and moisture). The long
duration between destructive fires and storms permits conifers to outgrow
hardwoods with more limited stature and life spans.

RE: New 300 foot species   Roman Dial
  Nov 30, 2005 19:13 PST 

Thanks for this, Kirk.

However, it has to be something else, other than "they grow in a really
nice environment."

If this were true, then we could get all the other trees that are not
from the PAC NW to reach their greatest height in the PAC NW. Also the
Science abstract fails to discuss what's going on in Australia, where
eucalpts grow that are broad leafed and non-conifer but the climate is
very similar, although the soils are much poorer. In fact only the PAC
NW has volcanoes of the three tall tree regions. Soils are notoriously
poor in both Borneo ands Australia.

Indeed soil nutrients are far more abundant in soils of US East Coast
deciduous forests than the soils of Borneo. Indeed the soils of Borneo
are pretty darn nutrient-poor, certainly no richer than soils of Amazon
or Africa which have short trees.

I also disagree with large trees buffer against stress, since more
stressful environments have shorter trees as do less stressful

Another common idea is that big winds are rare in PAC NW -- not
completely true around the volcanoes with catabatic winds that blast
trees down or volcanoes that flatten forests. But big winds are equally
rare in Africa and Central America and Amazon and glaciation was uncommon
in the east coast of US, too.

RE: New 300 foot species   Will Blozan
  Nov 30, 2005 20:21 PST 


Sounds like the World Rucker Index just went up. Anyone know the ten tallest
species accurately measured and still alive?

I am surprised at the ~200' maximum height claim for New World Tropics.
Considering we have multiple hardwood species over 160' at over 38 degrees
latitude and tuliptree consistently reaches over 170' (178.2 is the tallest)
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 America ever
been measured? I spent 6 months in the interior montane forests of Suriname
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

Will B
RE: New 300 foot species   Roman Dial
  Nov 30, 2005 22:01 PST 


BVP had world Rucker pegged at 305.4 feet a few years back, but now we
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 standing,
live trees.

There are 5 species of conifers (ranks 1,2,4,5,7) , all from Pacific NW
and measured by BVP.

4 species of Eucalypts (ranks 3,6,8, 10) measured by Brett Mifsud and
fellow enthusiasts (the big blue gum needs confirmation, but the one who
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 #8).

All ten of these species are over 288 feet.

I agree that 200 feet is on the short side, but according to the books
by Al Carder (his 1995 Forest Giants of the World, Past and Present and
the 2005 Giant Trees of Wesern America and the World), there really are
not any trees far over 200-250 feet in temperate Asia, any of South
America, or Africa. Here are some quotes from his books:

Andean wax palm (Ceroxylon andicola) -- tallest palm in the world --
"measurements have been made that exceed 200 feet"

Alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) -- a tree of the rainforest of Pacific
Patagonia "a top height of 240 feet"

Silk-cotton tree, (Ceiba pentandra) -- emergent giant of both South
America and West Africa -- "the fact that they reach these heights in
Africa [246 feet] while the tops of teh vast domes of the Ameircan trees
hardly attain 200 feet is possibly due to the higher canopy [crown]
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 Dinizia
excelsa, Ceiba pentandra, and the widely distributed Brazil nut tree
(200 feet)."

He also cites a handful of Himalayan trees in the 200-250 foot range
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 have
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 tropics
or Africa, it does seem pretty clear that the loggers would have
reported the monster trees that were reported in the 1800's both in
Australia and Pacific NW, and big trees (in the 280+) range have been
reported from Borneo for as long as modern logging has been going on

My main points are these
(1) all temperate and tropical forested regions of the world have
species of trees in the 200-250 foot range (or were historically that
(2) only three regions have trees in the 275-300 foot range and all are
on the Pacific Rim -- southern Australia, Indo-Malaysia, and NW North
(3) rich soils don't seem to be sufficient (Eastern USA) or necessary
(Borneo, some of Australia) conditions
(4) lack of large scale disturbance does not seem to be sufficient or
(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 talking about
five or six different families from wildly different histories
(7) Many of the tallest everywhere are fast growing -- some can tolerate
shade, but most like all of the Eucalypts and Doug Fir grow rapidly but
only in bright light.

I am working up an hypothesis.....but want to hear others.

Re: New 300 foot species   Kirk Johnson
  Dec 01, 2005 09:50 PST 


I agree that the paper cited is specific to the Pacific Northwest and does
not address Australia and Borneo.

I would not assume that strong wind events are rare in the Pacific
Northwest. During the winter months in particular, such events are not

Kirk Johnson
Tall blue gum update   Roman Dial
  Jan 13, 2006 19:42 PST 

ENTS -- Some time ago I passed on a report of a "92 m" Eucalyptus
globulus (Blue gum) from Tasmania. This was a laser measure reported to
me by Brett Mifsud.

Two independent tree climbing groups within days of each other have
recently climbed it. One team tape dropped 90.75 m and the other 90.73

So the laser was within 1.5% of true height and the tape drop measures
were within 3 cm of each other.

Roman Dial