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Scientists reach world’s tallest tree ever found in Amazon

Scientists reach world’s tallest tree ever found in Amazon

After three years of planning, five expeditions, and an arduous two-week trek through the jungle, scientists have finally reached the tallest tree ever found in the Amazon rainforest. This tree is a giant specimen the size of a 25-story building.

The giant tree, whose top rises above the canopy in the Arataporo River Nature Reserve in northern Brazil, is an Angelium Vermelho (scientific name: Denizia excelsa) measuring 88.5 meters (290 ft) tall and 9.9 meters (32 ft) in girth. Is. According to scientists, this tree is the largest ever identified in the Amazon.

Scientists reach world's tallest tree ever found in Amazon

 

Researchers first spotted the giant tree in satellite images in 2019 as part of a 3D mapping project.

A team of academics, environmentalists, and local guides launched an expedition to reach the tree later this year. But after 10 days of traveling through difficult terrain, exhaustion, low food supplies, and one team member falling ill, they had to turn back.

Three more expeditions in the reserve’s remote Continuum Valley area, which straddles the border between the states of Amapa and Pará, yielded several other giant trees, including the tallest 66-meter-tall nut tree ever found in the Amazon. included.

After the researchers covered 250 km in treacherous rivers by boats, in addition to walking another 20 km through the mountainous forest area to reach it.

According to the team doctor, one of the 19-member expedition was bitten by a poisonous spider.

But it was worth it, says Diego Armando Silva, forest engineer at Amapa Federal University, who helped organize the trip.

“It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen,” Silva, 33, told AFP.

Scientists reach world's tallest tree ever found in Amazon

 

“You’re in the middle of a forest where humanity has never set foot before, with an absolutely wild nature.”

After setting up camp under the giant tree, the group collected leaves, soil, and other samples, which will now be analyzed to study questions including how old the tree is – at least 400 600 years ago, Silva speculates why there are so many giant trees in this region. Trees, and how much carbon they store.

About half of the weight of the region’s large trees is absorbed from the atmosphere, says Silva. Which is fundamental in preventing climate change.

But despite its remoteness, the region’s giants are threatened.

Angelum Vermelho’s wood is prized by loggers, and the Arataporo reserve has been invaded by illegal gold miners who are notorious for wreaking havoc on the environment, says Jacqueline Pereira of the environmental group Amazon, which organized the campaign. I had helped.

“We were very excited to find this,” says Pereira.

“This is extremely important at a time when the Amazon is facing such alarming levels of deforestation.”

Over the past three years, the average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased by 75 percent from the previous decade. 

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