British and Brazilian scientists discovered the tallest tree in the Amazon while mapping the rainforest of northeastern Brazil. The fires of recent months did not affect their location and, after an extensive five-day trek through the jungle, they were able to see it with their own eyes.
The forest of the state of Amapá, in the north of Brazil, has been kept safe from the fires that in recent months hit the Amazon. There a family of giant trees remains intact, all of the same species Dinizia excelsa with trunks between two and three meters. Among them, scientists discovered the largest tree in the Amazon rainforest, 88.5 meters high.
The research was published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, it concludes that the tallest tree in the Amazon was found. In addition, it confirms that the Amazonian giant is not alone: it is surrounded by other giants that can exceed 70 meters in height.
The tallest tree in the world is a redwood called Hyperion, which measures 115.55 meters and is in a natural park north of San Francisco, USA. However, the Amazonian giant has yet to grow, although for the moment surpassed previous records in the Amazon by almost 30 meters, a feat no less important.
The funny thing is that this finding almost goes unnoticed. It was curiosity that led the team of Eric Bastos Gorgens, a forest engineering researcher at the Federal University of Brazil of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (UFVJM) to this unusual data while they examined satellite images of the Amazon captured between 2016 and 2018 by the Institute. National Space Research of Brazil (Inpe).
"It could have been a flying bird, a tower, a sensor error," Gorgens said of the investigation's success. “When we started to look at the data more carefully, we realized that it was not errors. They were, in fact, giant trees, "according to Smithsonian magazine.
They soon realized that several of the areas recorded during the scans had trees much taller than they expected to find and there was one that stood above the rest.
This is how they planned a five-day expedition that allowed them to penetrate more than 240 kilometers into the tropical jungle until they reached the area of the giants. Most are located on the edge of the Jari River, a tributary of the great Amazon River.
Over two days, the researchers collected samples, scaled, and measured the trees. The largest of all was impossible to reach, it meant walking another four kilometers. He was pending for a longer hike next year. The tallest tree they could measure is 82 meters, but according to satellite data, the tallest of all reaches a height of 88.5 meters..
The exact age of the trees has yet to be measured, but researchers believe they are roughly 400 to 600 years old. Although scientists do not know the conditions that allowed them to survive so long and grow so tall, they consider that the distance from urban and industrial areas, as well as the protection of the forest against strong winds was crucial for these giants.