A team committed to finding the tallest trees in the nation yesterday said that an 84.1m tall Taiwania cryptomerioides tree had been named the tallest tree in Taiwan and East Asia.
The Taiwan Champion Trees, a team consisting of researchers from the Council of Agriculture’s Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), in June last year used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imaging to find the giant tree, numbered 55214, upstream of the Daan River (大安溪).
A 20-member expedition team led by Rebecca Hsu (徐嘉君), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, set out to find the tree on Monday last week, and measured it to be 84.1m tall.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Hsu
Hsu and Wang Chi- kuei (王驥魁), a professor at NCKU’s Department of Geomatics, initiated the champion trees program, and after analyzing 54,415 LiDAR topographic maps, they identified 941 giant trees that are likely to be more than 65m tall.
Among the tallest trees found by the team, a 79.1m tall Taiwania cryptomerioides tree called the “Taoshan sacred tree” (桃山神木) was found in Shei-pa National Park in 2020, and the 82m tall “Ka’alang giant tree” (卡阿郎巨木), also a Taiwania cryptomerioides, was found upstream of the Ka’alang River (卡阿郎溪) last year.
Tree No. 55214 was estimated to be at least 79m tall through LiDAR imaging, and Hsu believed that it could be the tallest tree in Taiwan based on the shape of the tree trunk and treetop from the LiDAR images.
“Normally, it is difficult for the tree trunk to be visible on the LiDAR images, but the trunk of the No. 55214 tree was clearly presented,” she said.
It is “because the tree is very healthy, and also because there are no other objects nearby blocking it,” Hsu said.
When the team reached tree No. 55214, they found there were several giant trees taller than 60m near it, Hsu said, adding that it stood out from the other trees.
The team only had one day to measure the tree, but it was windy, so the tree climbers had to pause the operation when they were about 8m from the top, Hsu said.
After they finished measuring the tree and found that it was the tallest tree in Taiwan, the team cheered, she added.
The tree’s girth is about 8.5m, which is similar to the “Taoshan sacred tree” and the “Ka’alang giant tree,” Hsu said.
The tree is located in a valley of the leeward side of a mountain, Hsu said.
It is estimated to be about 700 to 800 years old, and there is abundant epiphyte on the tree, she said.
The team has mapped 941 trees that are 65m or taller in Taiwan, and the data can help scientists conduct research on giant trees, Hsu said.
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with countries that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
WASHED ASHORE: Of the 16 bodies discovered along Taiwan’s west coast this month, two were Vietnamese and five were Taiwanese, coast guard officials said Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he has instructed prosecutors and maritime authorities to launch investigations after 16 bodies were found along Taiwan’s west coast this month, amid speculation that they were victims of smuggling or human trafficking rings. Coast Guard Administration (CGA) officials said the bodies, most of which had washed ashore, were found by coast guard personnel and local residents along the coastline from Keelung to Kaohsiung. Thirteen of the bodies are male and three are female, the CGA said, adding that items found on the bodies indicate that two of the men were Vietnamese, while three men
TASK FORCE DISPATCHED: MOFA said it would assist state employees with repatriation or relocation to other ally nations in the region after Tegucigalpa severed ties The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Monday ordered Honduras to vacate its embassy in Taiwan within 30 days of Sunday after Tegucigalpa made a similar demand of Taiwan. Taipei on Monday announced that it had cut ties with Honduras after the Central American nation earlier said in a statement that it had established ties with Beijing and ended its diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. Following the announcements, Honduran Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Garcia spoke on Honduran television saying that Taiwan would be required to vacate its embassy in the Honduran capital. In Taipei, MOFA later told a news conference that “according
CHINA TRIP: The former president said he hoped the two sides of the Taiwan Strait would work together to pursue peace, avoid war and strive to ‘revitalize China’ Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday began a 12-day tour of China with a visit to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing. He paid tribute to Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), a founder of the Republic of China, giving a short speech and then bowing in front of the memorial. “The people of both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to the Chinese nation, are children of Yandi (炎帝) and Huangdi (黃帝),” he told reporters who had been allowed to follow him on the trip, referring to figures said to have founded of the Han ethnicity in ancient China. Ma has framed the trip as