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Tallest Tree in Asia Discovered in May

The tallest tree in Asia has been found by a research team from Peking University.


A Smithsonian article written by Sarah Kuta and published on June 20, 2023 said the tree is 335 feet tall. It was found in May in Tibet, now known as the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It has a diameter of 9.6 feet, according to the state-run Chinese publication, the People's Daily Online.


It is probably a Himalayan cypress, whose scientific name is Cupressus torulosa. Or it might be a Tibetan cypress, scientific name Cupressus gigantea.


The Peking University research team found it in the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon Nature Reserve, which is the deepest on-land canyon on the planet according to a June 22, 2023 Newsweek article written by Jess Thomson. The gorge is 19,714 feet deep in some places. Its average depth is 16,000 feet.


The tree has a straight trunk that tapers as it nears the top. It is taller than the Statue of Liberty, which stands 305 feet tall, said Lydia Smith. She wrote a June 21, 2023 article for Live Science about the find.


It may be the second tallest known tree in the world. The tallest one discovered so far is a 381-foot tall coastal redwood in California's Redwood National Park. Its nickname is Hyperion. The redwood was discovered in 2006. Though people used to be able to follow established trails to see Hyperion, it is now off limits to visitors. That's because tourists kept veering off the established trails to get closer to it. As a result, the delicate forest eco system was damaged.


It's hard to imagine how anyone could measure the height of a 335-foot tall tree. Lydia Smith explained the process in her Live Science article. The research team from Peking University used drones, a 3D laser scanner and lidar technology to get the job done. Lidar technology uses light beams to provide accurate dimensions. When they combined all that information, they confirmed that the cypress is the tallest tree so far discovered in Asia.


The tree has supporting roots that are not completely buried underground, according to Guo Quinhua, a professor at Peking University's Institute of Remote Sensing. He said the tree's complex branching system helps endangered plants and animals by providing ideal microclimates and habitats for them.

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