LNew Tallest Tree Discovered.

Letaba Herald

Feb 2013

The world’s tallest planted tree, which grows in the Woodbush Forest Estate in Magoebackloof, lost its title to a contender a mere few meters away, after an international team of arborists measured the new giant tree on Saturday.export-2013-02-01.png

The Letaba Herald accompanied the team of arborists exclusively to measure a number of giant trees in the area.

The stand of Eucalytus Salignalgum trees planted in 1906, is famed for the Magoebaskloof Trio, three giant trees, the tallest of which Stellenbosch based tree climbing enthusiast Leon Visser, measured 80m tall in 2011.

The trio consists of the Twin Giants of Magoebaskloof, the two tallest trees in Africa, who moved down in order of importance after Vissers’ discovery of the tallest planted tree in the world, which he himself dethroned over the weekend.

The trees’ nearby sibling and new rival towers more than a meter above them, and measures in at 81.5m which means it now takes the title of the tallest planted tree in the world under the Champion Tree Project, awaiting approval from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The measureing of both the new record holder and the now runner up, was part of an expedition by an enthusiastic team of international arborists, who along with Visser scaled about 20 of the largest and oldest trees in South Africa, all listed under the Champion Trees Project of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).

Visser, who has worked with the Department in determining the height of very tall ‘Champion Trees’ that cannot be reliably established with instruments and along with the Explore the Ancient Trees of Africa team, scaled the new ‘Champion’ tree shortly after climbing the original tallest tree. The tree which Visser measured in 2011 was measured at 80.3m on Saturday.

According to Visser, who held the measuring tape at the new champion tree, the team has decided it would be apt to refer to the now four giant trees in the 1906 stand as the Magoebaskloof Explore Four, also awaiting approval from DAFF.

The Team of arborists are David Wiles, Geoff Pugsley and Stephen Fry of the United Kingdom, Drew Bristow of New Zealand and Vincent Jolin of Canada.

The experienced team scaled champion baobab trees in the area, including the Sagole baobab, the worlds’ largest, the Sunland Baobab, and also slept in hammocks in the trees, usually at dizzy heights.

The Matumi triad of trees at Amorentia Estate, known as the Three Queens were also visited by the team, and two of the trees were climbed and measured. Said Visser, of his record breaking climb, “The tree next to me was just too tempting not to get into”.

He traversed from, the then, tallest tree over to its neighbour. “I needed to call up a pole and even the pole was too short for me to push it up to the top of the tree, so I had to climb higher up. I radioed the height down to the rest of the team. It was great to get the measurement, we actually expected that the tree might be higher”, Visser commented.

Now that the new giant has been measured, there is sure ot be a lot of interest around the tree and those interested in our Champion Trees will find it well worth their while to visit the new specimen before an even taller tree is discovered. “There is still the possibility that there may be even taller trees in that stand” Visser said.