With almost half a millennium above, the tallest tree in the Brazilian Amazon rises in an inhospitable place in the jungle. A veteran team of investigators recently came to him to gather more information about the imposing angelim-vermelho.
With the passage of time engraved on its body, the largest tree in the Brazilian Amazon, of the species Dinizia escelsa Ducke It is about 88.5 m high —equivalent to the height of two Christ the Redeemers or a 25-story building—, a trunk with a diameter of 9.9 m and an estimated 400 years of existence.
The tree was identified a few years ago by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) when it was trying to calculate the biomass of the largest tropical forest on the planet using sensors attached to aircraft.
“One of the parameters for calculate biomass of the jungle is the height of the vegetation. When we did the calculation, we observed that some heights were much higher than normal,” Eric Gorgens, one of the forestry engineers who led the expedition, explained in an interview with EFE.
The researchers then located a giant tree sanctuary in the Jari River region, between the states of Pará and Amapá (north). Among all of them stood out one of 88.5 m in height, the largest recorded so far in the Brazilian tropical forest.
“The expedition was important to know the species, to know where it is, the condition of the forest,” Gorgens pointed out.
They then set out on the journey to the tallest tree in the Amazon.
were altogether 40 kilometers into the jungle and 11 days of travel, between September 11 and 21, starting from the municipality of Laranjal do Jari, which was a new odyssey after the one carried out in 2019, when the project practically had to be aborted in the final stretch.
The arrival at the gigantic tree, which had financial support from the Royal Society, was attended by 20 people, including researchers, a support team and members of the chestnut-gathering community.
His knowledge of the area was essential to reach the angelim-vermelho, located in a lush region full of rivers with strong currents, waterfalls and unevenness in the heart of the largest tropical forest on the planet.
“We had the fundamental support of those guardians of the jungle from that community of San Francisco de Iratapuru. They live on the Amapá side, but since the border with the state of Pará is a river, they work in that region”, added Professor Diego Armando Silva, local coordinator of the project and who works at the Federal Institute of Amapá (IFAP). .
For Silva, finding this living being in an environment never before visited by man represents something “extraordinary” and reiterates the importance of maintaining these isolated places to keep the trees standing, something that he assures would not be possible without the native communities.
The conservation areas of northern Pará, which includes environmental and indigenous reserves in an area of 22.3 million hectares it is the largest set of legally protected tropical forests on the planet, which is good news for these gigantic trees.
“There is no mining in that region. It is an area that is highly preserved and very difficult to access,” explained Silva.
The centennial living being is located in the Pará forest reserve, a privileged place in the Brazilian jungle with trees that can reach immense dimensions and concentrate 260 cubic meters of wood a value that is equivalent to almost one hectare of forest.
The frequent rains, the plant density that prevents the direct entry of the sun, the low incidence of winds and a strong and structured soil are the elements of nature that help promote its growth.
In that region alone, six of the tallest trees in the Amazon were identified. Their presence, according to the researchers, is key to combating the climate crisis, since they manage to absorb a large proportion of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“If it is felled, that tree is a very important source of carbon, but it also has enormous power to capture it. The tree absorbs the same carbon as a hectare of vegetation”, concluded Gorgens.