The tallest tree in the Amazon

By 2019, researchers found the tallest tree in the Amazon. It took them years of planning, five expeditions and a few weeks of grueling trekking through the dense jungle. When they finally made it, they were standing at the foot of a specimen of red Angelim or Dinizia Excelsa, according to its botanical name. It is 88 meters high and almost ten meters in circumference at its base, which is equivalent to a 25-story building. It is 30 meters taller than the tree that held the previous record in the Amazon. It is also the tallest in Latin America and ranks fourth in the world.

tallest tree

The tallest tree in the Amazon is a red Angelim.

The expeditionary team consisted of scientists from Brazil and Great Britain. They discovered, in addition, that the giant is surrounded by other specimens of the same species that can exceed 80 meters in height.

To get an idea of its height, Christ the Redeemer is 38 meters and the Statue of Liberty in New York is 93 meters from its base. The red angelim is a tree prized for its wood, although it is malodorous.

The tree is found in the Brazilian state of Amapá, in the northeast of that country. The region is known as the “Guiana Shield”, an area of lush flora that is so far free of fires.

They added technology and knowledge to be able to find it

To find the mammoth specimen, researchers from Brazil’s Institute for Space Research, or INPE, conducted scans of vast areas of the Amazon using laser technology.

They created grids 12 kilometers long by 300 meters wide. This is how they found seven grids where trees exceed 80 meters in height. Most of these areas are near the course of the Jari River, one of the many tributaries of the Amazon.

Scientists from Oxford University and Cambridge University, who participated in the research, were surprised by the height of the trees. Therefore, they decided to reach them to study them in situ.

Although the trek through the unforgiving jungle was not easy. They traveled 240 kilometers over several days to reach the tallest specimens of the Amazon. Once at the foot of the trees, they did not use sophisticated technology to measure them. They simply climbed them and dropped a rope from the top to the ground.

Fifteen specimens are more than 70 meters tall. The researchers concluded that all specimens that exceeded that height are of the same species.

Angelim red

However, until this discovery, the available information assured that this species did not exceed 60 meters.

The explanation, according to botany experts, is that the trees grew in an area far from industrial zones and urban civilization. That is, they grew in an area free of environmental pollutants.

One specimen of red Angelim is capable of retaining as much carbon as one hectare of rainforest. That is, it can store 40 tons of carbon, the equivalent of what is absorbed by more than 300 smaller trees.

However, the Amazon rainforest may have surprises in store. The area scanned is very small compared to the extent of the region. So there may be other giants waiting for us to find them, if indiscriminate logging and arson do not reach them first.

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