THE world’s second tallest tree has been found by Tasmanian foresters less than five kilometres from a popular tourist attraction, reports the website news.com.au.
Reporter Damien Brown says the 101m giant swamp gum is second in height only to a giant coast redwood in the Redwood National Park, California, which stands at 115m.
The Tasmanian tree has been aptly named Centurion, after the rank of soldier in Roman times, who was in charge of 100 soldiers.
Foresters have estimated the tree to be about 400 years old.
Centurion will also go into the record books as the tallest hardwood tree in the world; the tallest eucalyptus in the world and the tallest flowering tree in the world.
Forestry Tasmania field officers found the tree this week near the popular Tahune Airwalk tourist attraction close to timber town Geeveston, south of Hobart.
They also suggest that at some stage in the past, the upper reaches of the tree were damaged or snapped. This means that it is possible that the tree was even higer than what it is today.
Centurion was not previously located in a reserve, but it has now been protected under Forestry Tasmania’s Giant Tree Policy.
And standing right next door is an equally breath-taking 86.5m gum that has been named Triarus which is Latin for a veteran soldier.
Forestry Tasmania staff says it has eclipsed what was Tasmania’s tallest tree and the world’s third largest at 97m, located in the Styx Valley.
The agency says that it plans to make the majestic beauty accessible to the public with a boardwalk and other facilities on the drawing board.
David Mannes, Forestry Tasmania’s resource information manager, and resource officer Mayo Kajitani found the trees using airborne laser scanning.
The laser signals reflect off the canopy of the trees and showed it was at least 99-metres. Ground inspections and laser measurements then confirmed the significant discovery.
Mr Mannes says it might not be the last giant Forestry Tasmania will find with the leading edge laser technology also scanning other forest areas around the state.
“It is hard to believe they have been here so long without us even knowing they are here,” Mr Mannes said.
“Considering the other tall trees around the state, this one is in very good condition.”