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Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found

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Tallest Eucalyptus discovered in Tasmania: Eucalyptus regnans

Forestry Tasmania reports a 101 meter height and 4 meter diameter monster Eucalyptus found near the Tahune Airwalk, 75 km away from Hobart.

David Mannes besides Centurion, world's tallest Eucalyptus (Image courtesy of The Mercury, the voice of Tasmania)

We woke up today at EUCALYPTOLOGICS with big tree news. Centurion, as the newly discovered giant Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) has been named, joins the Tallest Known Alive Tree Club (which includes champions as Hyperion & the Stratosphere Giant, famous Californian coast redwoods) as the tallest known alive hardwood and the tallest known alive Eucalyptus, surpassing another King Regnans in Tasmania, Icarus Dream, which reaches 97 m high.
Centurion, tallest Eucalyptus video / Eucalyptologics / Courtesy ABC NewsClick to watch a video of Centurion (courtesy ABC News, Australia)

After measuring Centurion using LiDAR laser and ground methods, Forestry Tasmania officers Mayo Kajitani & David Mannes located another neighbour giant eucalypt reaching 87.5 m high, which was named Triarius.

Centurion & Triarius will also join celebritrees as Icarus Dream, Damocles, Gothmog, Gandalf's Staff or the White Knight in Australia's Giant Tree Club (www.gianttrees.com.au), examples of Tasmania's world heritage to preserve and admire.

Walk among giants at Forestry Tasmania's Tahune Airwalk!




Watch Nick Duigan & Andrew Hart "Going Bush" beyond the Tahune Airwalk to meet the tallest known standing true flowering plant in the World... amidst the tall wet eucalypt forests of Tasmania... and show you dendrologists Tom Greenwood & Brett Mifsud preparing for a Giant Tree Climb: the ascent to and measurement of The Centurion, the tallest known standing eucalypt at 99.6 meters height, discovered by Forestry Tasmania's forester David Mannes back in 2008... Eucalyptus regnans, King of Eucalypt Trees! (Click play to watch the video, courtesy of Forestry Tasmania)


And do not forget to also watch Sir David Attenborough's video with King Regnans!



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13 Comments by our readers :::

Stan said...

Posted by Stan on 10/10/2008, 11:41 am, in reply to "Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

The tallest tree 'Hyperion' in California is 115 meters and still in vigorous growth. In 1991 a 122 meter Redwood fell over. I have stood under or by Blue Gums almost half the height of the Tasmanina tree. Hard to tell the difference,since you lose all perspective other than -wow-big!

I have also touched General Sherman of Giant Sequioa fame. THAT tree is incomparable since at eye level the girth is not like anything in the normal world of trees.

Gus-Eucalyptologics said...

Posted by Gus on 10/10/2008, 12:10 pm, in reply to "Re: Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

Each one of these big guys is a treasure, and should be preserved if we want the next generations to be in awe, as we can yet be :-) It ain't a race for the tallest, or shouldn't be, but a race against time :-)

Michael Taylor said...

Posted by Michael Taylor on 10/11/2008, 1:04 pm, in reply to "Re: Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

Judging by the picture where the top was measured and going by my personal experience in measuring regnans with a laser...... there is no way they hit the true top of this tree.

Only climbing will get the actual number which will likely be 102m+.

This regnans is also 17m taller than its peers, lending credence to the claims of the 375' Thorpdale Tree, well documented and photographed, which was 75' taller than its peers.

Centurion does not appear to compete with anything, except possibly with the hillside, yet it towers. I would conclud that 102m is not even close the upper potential for this amazing species. Perhaps these super tall regnans are genetic freaks.

I don't believe the claims of the 435' regnans that fell over and burned up, but the 375' was the real deal.

Michael Taylor

Gus-Eucalyptologics said...

Posted by Gus on 10/11/2008, 4:02 pm, in reply to "Re: Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

Michael, a great pleasure reading you! :-) There was an earlier discussion here that you might have enjoyed, as those data on the Thorpdale Tree would have enlightened us all. It is largely gone into the archives now, but I saved the posts as comments to the article that started it here, just in case.

About the laser measurements done on Centurion, not easy. No clear leader branch (at least easily visible from ground measurement point), plus the normal inaccuracy factors of measuring such large trees. Giving due credit to the guys down under, very possibly accurate enough as to know it is well over 100, and it is the newest tallest one (until another is found) of its kind.

Re current towering status of Centurion compared to the surrounding trees, my suspicion is we just see the final frame of a long process of stand evolution. Three shape is clearly similar to that one of trees which started in fierce competition with their cohort, maybe after some odd fire +400 years ago. What happened inbetween that moment and today, difficult to know, but if logging did not take place there for the later part of the story (which could be, and some friends down under could try to confirm), maybe this biggun is simply the only +100 standing one of the few dominant specimens in the area. Triarius (at 87 m) and several others around would be the surviving of the co-dominant. The others of each kind could well have disappeared of old sheer age, naturally.

If anytime in future circumstances are favourable for a climbing measurement expedition to The Centurion for canopy research, I must suggest to consider reading this first! Could be nice company. I volunteer for running in circles with a laser kit meanwhile, and for stump mapping and seed collection :-)

Jim said...

Posted by Jim on 10/11/2008, 3:13 pm, in reply to "Re: Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

The tree measured by George Cornthwaite was a genuine measurement well documented. Amazingly, Eucalypts up to 365' were claimed near the same grove in Thorpdale South, according to Walter Savige.

The Feb. 1872 report of a "435 ft" tree by Inspector of Forests, William Ferguson certainly requires some faith. Perhaps I am optimistic, but I would not conclude it as impossible given the many reports from that era of some genuinely giant trees which "may" have touched 400 feet. Ferguson reported to Clement Hodgkinson, of trees 300 to 350 ft in the surrounding alluvial flats of the Watts.

His 435 feet estimate was a physical measurement which he employed with "tape line" from the root ball to the "burnt" top. The tree was 18 ft thick at the base. Ferguson's details are very precise, but not immune to error.

On the other hand Cornthwaite's measurement was accurately tested by instrument when standing, and after being felled by surveyor's chain. With a discrepancy of only 4-5 feet.

This 102 m Centurion is VERY big for what's left of today's primordial forests, but I contend that the maximum genetic and physical potential for these trees could be in the 110 to 130 m range, (and probably reflected in some old time records).

The same I believe, can be applied to other temperate giants such as the Douglas-fir whose pre-logged forebearers "occasionally" graced the 400 ft ceiling in some pockets of the coastal NW wind protected mountain zones.

Gus-Eucalyptologics said...

Posted by Gus on 10/12/2008, 10:18 am, in reply to "Re: Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

Jim, many thanks for those data. They certainly give some serious support to the 100-130 meter range being quite reasonable and reasonably common (sadly, in past times).

That small resource on the big trees you linked to is very nice! Any idea on how to contact the author? Or who the author is?

Stan said...

Posted by Stan on 10/11/2008, 4:08 pm, in reply to "Re: Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

Unlike the Tasmanian tree, California Redwoods can grow for thousands of years and never see a Tornado, Hurricane, Monsoon, Drought (the ever present fog mitigates low rainfall years) Insect, or Animal damage. Nothing burrows into a Redwood. No matter how large a Redwood gets... surrounding groves are comparable in height. The great forest Eucs seem like many tropical jungle tree's, outgrow the forest canopy. My layman reasoning.

Gus-Eucalyptologics said...

The surrounding forest to The Centurion

Posted by Gus on 10/12/2008, 9:55 am, in reply to "Re: Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

And... stand dynamics for the Centurion neighbourhood include 3 major wildfire events:

"The forest surrounding the two giant trees has had an eventful history. The ridge above and to their west appears to have been in the path of the 1934 wildfires, which left few older trees intact. These areas are now mostly stocked with tall natural fire-regenerated regrowth forests. Thirty years later, the forests immediately to the east of the giant trees were burnt (and regenerated) by the major wildfires of 1966 and 1967. The 1967 fire (the same one that burnt Hobart) devastated much of the Arve Valley and resulted in a large area of fire regenerated forest." (Source here)

That would explain the later part of the story for that area, and the absence of a higher number of alive dominant or co-dominant trees.

After each event, a new cohort of trees (even-aged germinants) started development (natural regeneration from seed). Possibly other events of this type happened before European regular presence in the area, but these were not recorded.

If during the first 100 years (where most of height growth seems to happen for this type of trees in this type of forests), Centurion and other giants were undisturbed, high stocking per acre and fierce competition easly modelled their shape into what we see now.

Zac-NC said...

Re: Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found

Posted by Zac in NC on 10/10/2008, 3:49 pm, in reply to "Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

Wow thats so awesome, but every time I read the name Centurion, I think about Michael Palin playing Pontius Pilate in the Life of Brian, and how he says it Centuwion. But thats a tangent. Its incredible trying to imagine a tree that large.

I've seen huge virgin Liriodendron tulipifera which were very large in diameter(like 7 or 8 people holding hands around) but that was about 10 years ago and I can't really remember how large they actually were well. I was about 14 at the time and its at a great park called Joyce Kilmer in Far western NC.

I also remember seeing Eastern White Pines, Pinus strobus which were about 200 feet tall, with the first branches 150 feet up.

Plants are a wonder and I know why I love them so, because of the great diversity and amazing variety in shapes and sizes.

Zac

Gus-Eucalyptologics said...

Posted by Gus on 10/11/2008, 4:13 am, in reply to "Re: Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

About the naming of these trees, it is at least a curious thing. Both Centuriones and Triarii were ranks within the Roman Army. So, I guess then the tallest tree is not just a Centurion, but also the Primus Pilus, literally the "first spear". In addition, centurion also brings the idea of centenary, which is true for the trees (+400 years old). And it was the 100th "biggun" added to the Catalogue of Giant Trees of Tasmania.

It is at least a change since the funny naming of Gothmog and Gandalf's Staff.

About plants being a wonder, there is little doubt. What happens is that beings like special trees are more visible for the general public than, say, special mosses. And surely have more potential as tourism attractors. Which is neither good or bad per se, but tends to be positive for their conservation. Umbrella species :-)

Gus-Eucalyptologics said...

Don't imagine the tree... watch it :-)

Posted by Gus on 10/11/2008, 5:07 am, in reply to "Re: Centurion: World's Tallest Eucalyptus Tree Found"

Each time one of these giant eucalypts is discovered, the mandatory piece of video to watch is this one! It certainly helps with perspective ;)

M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...

The news is that the forest Centurion was in, was burned in the recent Australia forest fire.

Is Centurion now a burnt piece of history?

Or is it still a living survivor?

Cheers,

MDV

M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...

Oh - my mind was mistaken for a moment. Centurion is in Tasmania.

Good day,

Mario


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