Tallest Trees

January 8, 2009

Arboricultural management

On a recent Holiday to Port Stephens (which is located some 220km north of Sydney, NSW), I travelled further north to Bulahdelah and stumbled across what was signposted and what was apparently the tallest tree in NSW.  After driving down 5km of dirt track and walking only 150m ‘The Grandis’ as it is locally known was observed.  The Eucalyptus grandis (commonly known as Flooded Gum) is allegedly 76m tall with a trunk diameter of 2.7m at breast height.  The tree is claimed to be 400 years old.

Further research alerted me to a different tallest tree in NSW, which is located in the Cunnawarra Flora Reserve on the Northern Tablelands of NSW, west of Coffs Harbour and 400 odd kilometres north of Sydney (http://www.forest.nsw.gov.au/bush/aug97/stories/9.asp).  The Giant White Gum (Eucalyptus nobilis) was measured at 79m with no trunk diameter provided.

The interest and intrigue in tall trees got me thinking about exactly how much carbon is stored in these forest giants and how this might be calculated, given the impending release by the Australian Government of a carbon emission trading scheme and the current interest in carbon sequestration.

A simple and rough approach is to calculate the dry weight of the tree using an algorithm and to multiply this result by 45%, which is a rough estimate of total carbon as a percentage of dry tree weight.  The root mass of a tree is roughly 20% of the above ground tree mass (varies for species and conditions), which needs to be added to the total weight.  On this basis ‘The Grandis’ has approximately 76 metric tonnes of carbon stored within its total mass of 233 tonnes.  If the tree is 400 years old, this misleadingly equates to an average of 190kg of carbon being sequestered per year.  This is misleading because carbon sequestration by trees seems to correlate with growth rates.  Young and semi-mature trees that are vigorous will lock up more carbon than more mature or old declining trees.  All very impressive nevertheless.

What is the tallest tree for other states? We now know that Tasmania has the tallest tree in Australia and Victoria has the tallest mainland tree but what about our northern and western states. Can anyone fill in the gaps?

List of tallest trees by state or territory

State or Territory

Species

Height

(m)

DBH

(cm)

Location

Tasmania

Eucalyptus regnans

101.00

405

Discovered in a state forest near the Tahune Airwalk tourist attraction, 80km south-west of Hobart

Victoria

Eucalyptus regnans

91.60

2.73

Wallaby Creek

Western Australia

Eucalyptus diversicolor

85.00

?

Near Pemberton

New South Wales

Eucalyptus nobilis

79.90

?

Cunnawarra Flora Reserve

South Australia

 

 

 

 

Queensland

 

 

 

 

Canberra

 

 

 

 

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About Lee

Lee is the Business Administration Manager of the Tree Logic Group of Companies

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7 Responses to “Tallest Trees”

  1. John Atkins Says:

    Around 10 years ago, the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service engaged a local tree contractor, Brad Chapman, to climb the Grandis and conduct an aerial inspection. He co-climbed the tree with another arborist Michael Clarke. They took with them a coil of rope and Brad dropped the rope to the ground at a point estimated to be 3 – 4 metres from the very top. The eventual height measured by this method was an estimated 85 – 86 metres. However, Brad noted that only a few months after the climb, a large section of the tree snapped out during a storm. Brad estimated that the height had been reduced by 10 metres or so.

    The signage at the foot of The Grandis is very dated and it’s possible it is getting close to the 80 m mark again.

    I think the age estimate is way off as well. I have seen E. grandis grow to 35 metres in height in as many years. Would love to have a look at the Noble tree sometime and that valley.

  2. Lee Says:

    Thanks Bob,

    Good luck with the April exploration. We look forward to an update on your return on what you found in relation to tall trees.

    James

  3. Bob Crombie Says:

    I am taking a group in to see the Noble Tree in April 2013. Hopefully we will be able to explore further up the valley and may even find one of the fabled taller trees there. We may explore Crombie’s Cave on the same trip. It is the longest granite cave in Australia at 832 metres, longer than Labertouche granite cafe in Victoria in the 700s metres. It can be found in Powell’s Creek near Blue Hole, Gara 19 kms from Armidale in the New England Ranges.

  4. Bob Crombie Says:

    There are more than likely taller trees than the Noble Tree in the upper reaches of the Cunnawarra Reserve. This was the only one measured due to the difficulty experienced in getting in to the tree. I have found a much easier and quicker way in to the area of the really tall trees instead of from Softwood Trail, which is a very difficult route and the one taken by the Forestry surveyors who measured the Noble Tree. The upper Georges Creek valley in the area below Beech Lookout is certainly worthwhile exploring for more tall trees.

  5. Phil in Sydney Says:

    Where do you get 85m from for the tallest karri? There is a link for Warren National Park that says 89m is the tallest.

  6. Glenn Says:

    Not sure we can help but just flick us an email on mail@treelogic.com.au

  7. Bob Crombie Says:

    A big storm, possibly a small tornado as evidenced by the narrow path of great destruction, went through the Cunnawarra Reserve in the early 2000s felling many giant trees. It missed the Noble Tree by about 30 metres. Storms like this are probably important in the regeneration of this species in the area, which is largely a mix of cool and warm temperate rainforests with emergent E. nobilis.

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