Scientists have identified what is likely one of the world's tallest trees, a 330.7-foot (100.8 meter) yellow meranti tree in the rainforest on the island of Borneo. They spotted the tree growing in the Malaysian state of Sabah during an aerial laser scan of the forest. The rainforest is protected yet Yellow meranti trees are are highly endangered because they're relentlessly chopped down in other parts of Borneo for construction use. To accurately measure the tree, arborist Unding Jami of the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership climbed it with a tape measure in hand. From National Geographic:
What was it like to climb?
I knew it would feel very exposed [to climb], like you are just hanging in the air. There were really strong winds and a Colugo (flying lemur) nest! It was flying all around as we were trying to shoot the line up into the tree.
It took me 15 attempts to shoot that line 86 meters (282 feet) up to the lowermost branches. Honestly, I almost gave up. We were so lucky to be able to finally shoot the rope over the lower branch.
Once we had the rope up I took nearly an hour to climb up to 86 meters. And then another two hours from there to get to the top to take the final measurement. That last two hours the wind was very strong, and it rained, which slowed me down…
It's not easy work to do. I climb up slowly, checking the trunk every meter for centipedes, snakes, and things. If there are birds', bees', or wasps' nests that can be a problem. If I see one from the ground, we will climb at night when they're less active and shouldn't attack. It's almost less scary to climb at night, as you can't see everything!
"The world's tallest known tropical tree has been found—and climbed" by Mary Gagen (Nat Geo)
(image: Unding Jami)