Airborne forest surveys have recently helped to find some seriously tall trees in Northern Borneo. Until late last year, the tallest tree in the tropics was thought to be in Tawau hills, a spectacular 89.5m! In November 2016 another record breaker was been found along with 49 other trees, all over 90m. https://news.mongabay.com/2016/11/worlds-tallest-tropical-tree-discovered-along-with-nearly-50-other-record-breakers/
This grove of giant trees is to be found about 10km away from Danum Valley field centre, and that’s exactly where I am right now. I just got back to the field centre after visiting the new tallest tree this morning, here it is:
This Shorea Faguetiania was estimated at 94m by airborne survey but measured at 96m by a climber just yesterday. Obviously, there is a bit of uncertainty around the exact figure but whichever way you look at it this is a very impressive discovery and it brings a few questions to mind, such as: What is the limit to tree height? Does this limit vary from place to place? How will forests respond to change in their local climate?
I don’t have the answers, but there are giant redwood trees in California that are taller still (some reaching 110m I believe). Also, trees in Borneo can grow far taller than those in the Amazon. Interestingly, the record-breaking tree in question is situated between two steep slopes, so it probably benefits from quite substantial sheltering from the wind which may otherwise have toppled it long ago.