Naturally Trees

Forest Giants

We’re often reminded in our busy lives to ‘stop and smell the roses’ and recently I was reading an article that caused me to gain a deeper appreciation for the tall trees that surround us everyday.  Not needing an excuse to venture into this topic, I was surprised to find so much interesting information on the forest giants that are not only found within some of the remaining wilderness areas, but also those within our very own backyards.

Recently, the world’s tallest hardwood tree was discovered near Forestry Tasmania’s Tahune Airwalk tourism attraction, about 80km south of Hobart.  This giant Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) was found in August 2008. The tree was named ‘Centurion’ and measures 101m tall with a 4m trunk diameter.

Centurion has broken many records. It is the tallest Eucalyptus tree in the world, the tallest hardwood in the world and the tallest flowering plant in the world.  The previous tallest known existing hardwood tree was “Icarus Dream”, a Mountain Ash which measured 97m tall in the Styx Valley in 2005. 

There are approximately 100 known giant trees in Tasmania. Currently, the ten tallest known trees are all at least 85m tall. Extreme tallness is not  only confined to Eucalyptus regnans, with a 91m Eucalyptus viminalis and a 90m Eucalyptus delegatensis being almost as tall.

Historically, the tallest individual is claimed to be the Ferguson Tree which measured in at 132.6 m and was found in the Watts River region of Victoria around 1871. The tallest tree standing in the world today is 115m and is a conifer, a Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in California, USA.

Big deal you may say - 130m isn't very high. Modern athletic sprinters can cover 100m in less than 10 seconds. However, to put this into perspective here are some relative heights to make it easier to visualise;

  • The Sydney Opera House is 67m high above sea level. 
  • The Statue of Liberty is 93m tall.
  • The Sydney Harbour Bridge is 134m above sea level.
  • The Eiffel Tower is 300m high.
  • The Sydney Tower is 305m high.

Now do you think these trees are tall?

Well you might not have a tree that big in the back yard but did you know that many of Australia’s biggest trees are situated on privately owned land!  You might have the biggest or tallest tree of a particular species, whether it is the largest Jacaranda or the biggest Sydney Blue Gum.

Interestingly, in order to promote the preservation of big trees, a National Register of Big Trees was set up so tree lovers can nominate their Regional and State Champion trees.  This list is constantly changing as people become more aware of the large trees in their backyards, in community parks and wilderness areas.

The register has been around for more than 25 years and is designed to help protect and retain trees which are of significance.  The National Register of Big Trees has impressive examples of tree growth, natural beauty, valuable genetic resources, and inspiring symbols of conservation.  To learn more about big trees or to register one in your yard or park visit http://www.nationalregisterofbigtrees.com.au/

 

Forest giant