What is believed to be the world’s tallest hardwood tree has been discovered near Forestry Tasmania’s Tahune Airwalk tourism attraction 88km south of Hobart. One of two giant Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) found growing together, the trees were detected in August using an airborne Light Detection and Ranging Laser scanning technology (LiDAR). The trees were subsequently located and inspected from the ground where their heights were measured. Details of the two trees are as follow:
Height: 100 –101 metres. Because the sight to the very top of the tree was partially obscured by the tree’s healthy crown, it may be taller. According to Forestry Tasmania staff the head of Centurion had previously broken off and it was likely the tree was once higher.
Trunk Diameter: 405 cm
Height: 86.5 metres, Clear sight to the very top of the tree.
Trunk Diameter: 390 cm
Centurion becomes the tallest known tree existing in Australia, the tallest Eucalyptus tree in the world, the tallest hardwood tree in the world, and the tallest flowering plant in the world. The previous tallest known existing hardwood tree was “Icarus Dream”, a Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), measured at 97 metres in the Styx Valley (west of New Norfolk) in 2005.
Centurion and Triarius have survived the major bushfire events of 1934 and 1966/67, which burnt to the west and immediately east of the trees respectively. The trees are now afforded protection through Forestry Tasmania’s Giant Trees Policy. This policy provides for the protection and management of all Giant Trees on Tasmania’s State forests. To qualify as a Giant Tree, trees must be at least 85 metres tall or 280 cubic metres in volume.
Despite the Giant Tree policy, “El Grande” a Giant Mountain Ash discovered in 2002 was killed by Forestry Tasmania during burning in 2003 that was part of a woodland clearance exercise. El Grande – which stood at 79 metres (260 feet) – was thought to be the largest tree in Australia in terms of volume and grew in the Florentine Valley about 100km northwest of Hobart. El Grande collapsed last year. Let’s hope Centurion fairs better than El Grande and other Giant Trees threatened by forestry activity.
Information on Tasmania’s Giant Trees can be found at the Giant Tree Consultative committee website www.gianttrees.com.au
The committee was established by Forestry Tasmania to provide independent advice on the protection, management and promotion of Giant Tree