Expedition finds tallest tree in the Amazon

  • For Cambridge students
  • For our researchers
  • Business and enterprise
  • Colleges and Departments
  • Email and phone search
  • Give to Cambridge
  • Museums and collections

  • Undergraduate
    • Events and open days
    • Fees and finance

  • Postgraduate
    • Postgraduate courses
    • Fees and funding
    • Frequently asked questions

    • International students
    • Continuing education
    • Executive and professional education
    • Courses in education

    • How the University and Colleges work
    • Visiting the University

    • Equality and diversity
    • Global Cambridge

    • Public engagement
    • Give to Cambridge

    "Giant trees like the ones we found are simply awe-inspiring, they remind us how amazing the Amazon rainforest is, and how important it is to preserve it."

    Trees help to mitigate climate change by taking carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it. The bigger the tree, the more carbon it stores. New research has discovered the tallest known tree in the Amazon, towering above the previous record holder at a height of 88.5 metres. This giant could store as much carbon as an entire hectare of rainforest elsewhere in the Amazon.

    A group of giant trees was discovered by Professor Eric Gorgens, a researcher at the Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (UFVJM), Brazil using LIDAR - a method of remote sensing using a laser scanner on an aircraft. They are growing in a remote region of northern Brazil, far from human activity, and may be over 400 years old. Intriguingly, they are all the same species, called Dinizia excelsa, known in Portuguese as Angelim vermelho.

    Toby Jackson, a plant scientist in the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, joined Gorgens on an expedition to visit the giants. The team validated the tallest tree’s height, and collected samples from the understory to try to understand what makes this site so special.

    Jackson wrote an account of his expedition for The Conversation

    Gorgens, E.B. et al: ’ The giant trees of the Amazon basin. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment ’, Aug 2019. DOI: 10.1002/fee.2085

    Sign up to receive our weekly research email

    Our selection of the week’s biggest Cambridge research news and features direct to your inbox from the University. Enter your name and email address below and select ’Subscribe’ to sign up.

    The University of Cambridge will use your name and email address to send you our weekly research news email. We are committed to protecting your personal information and being transparent about what information we hold. Please read our email privacy notice for details.

    Download issue 39 (PDF)

    Read on Issuu

    This site uses cookies and analysis tools to improve the usability of the site. More information. |