Record-breaking tree in China stands as Asia's tallest at 102.3 meters

If you enjoy trawling the internet for amusing facts, here's a new one for you. 
Mrigakshi Dixit
Researchers standing with the 102.3-meter-tall Himalayan cypress.
Researchers standing with the 102.3-meter-tall Himalayan cypress.


The tallest tree in Asia has just been identified in southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region. 

Could you make some noise for the Himalayan cypress (scientifically known as Cupressus torulosa)? 

It stands tall in the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon in Bome County of Nyingchi Prefecture of this region. 

The massive tree's height is approximately 102.3 meters, making it Asia's tallest known tree. Interestingly, the new record-holder tree is taller than the famed Statue of Liberty (93 meters) in the United States. 

Not only that, but the tree is now the world's second-largest after the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) found in America.

Identifying Asia's tallest tree

In May 2023, a team of researchers from multiple institutes conducted a detailed analysis of the region's Himalayan cypress cluster. 

They mapped a region using a lidar drone that uses sensors for this purpose. This thorough investigation resulted in the discovery and confirmation of the existence of this massive tree in Asia.  

A 3D point cloud model of the tree was also generated using lidar technology equipped on a drone. The 3D laser scanner and lidar work together to collect data and measurements of the region, which provides information about the dimensions and sizes of the objects in the target.

This species' tree cluster was discovered by Xizijiang Conservation Center researcher Li Cheng. Later, a Peking University research team led by Guo Qinghua surveyed the deep forest using a drone and backpack lidar.

Why are tall trees so rare to find?

In addition to Himalayan cypresses, the team discovered a variety of massive trees reaching heights of over 85 meters in the same location. There are 25 trees that are taller than 90 meters.

In today’s time, finding intact giant tree clusters are said to be relatively rare —  because they flourish in ideal soil and climate conditions. Not to mention, they have to endure strong winds, fire, lightning, and human meddling.

The team mentioned that the last known record of China's tallest tree was found in 2022. Before this discovery, the tallest known tree in Asia was an 83.2-meter evergreen fir tree species (Abies ernestii var. salouenensis). 

Scientists from Peking University, the Xizijiang Conservation Center, and the Shan Shui Conservation Center collaborated on the work funded by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and provincial and regional forestry and grassland bureaus.

You can view the full image of the tallest tree here.

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