World Rucker Index:  New 300 foot species   Roman Dial
  Nov 28, 2005 22:05 PST 

ENTS: Big news from Down Under

Brett Mifsud, a big tree hunter and even better, a BVP certified A-O-K
big tree surveyer, informed me back in October of a 92 m Eucalyptus
globulus. This is a live, standing tree down in Tasmania that is over
300 feet tall.

My previous sources suggest only 5 species over 300 feet back:

1 coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) 370 feet
2 doug fir (Pseudostuga menziesii) 329 feet
3 mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) 318 feet
4 sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) 317 feet
5 giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) 314 feet

Now we have a sixth, blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) 302 feet

This is a laser height -- will need tree climbing confirmation, which
will no doubt be forthcoming as Steve Sillett and crowd are converging
on Oz now and the locals can be a bit territorial......

Roman Dial
RE: New 300 foot species   Will Blozan
  Nov 30, 2005 20:21 PST 


Sounds like the World Rucker Index just went up. Anyone know the ten tallest
species accurately measured and still alive?

I am surprised at the ~200' maximum height claim for New World Tropics.
Considering we have multiple hardwood species over 160' at over 38 degrees
latitude and tuliptree consistently reaches over 170' (178.2 is the tallest)
wouldn't 200 feet be easily and readily obtained? What is the basis of the
200' figure and have tropical trees in steep coves in S and C America ever
been measured? I spent 6 months in the interior montane forests of Suriname
and saw trees I figured were at least 200'. Admittedly, I did not have the
same "eye" I do now but I have composite photos that suggest very tall

Will B
RE: New 300 foot species   Roman Dial
  Nov 30, 2005 22:01 PST 


BVP had world Rucker pegged at 305.4 feet a few years back, but now we
have some new data from Australia and Borneo and it's been lifted a bit.

Yep, world Rucker's up to 94.95 m or 311.5 feet. These are all standing,
live trees.

There are 5 species of conifers (ranks 1,2,4,5,7) , all from Pacific NW
and measured by BVP.

4 species of Eucalypts (ranks 3,6,8, 10) measured by Brett Mifsud and
fellow enthusiasts (the big blue gum needs confirmation, but the one who
got it has shot some big ones before, so it is reliable, if not

And one species of Dipterocarp measured by us this fall (rank #8).

All ten of these species are over 288 feet.

I agree that 200 feet is on the short side, but according to the books
by Al Carder (his 1995 Forest Giants of the World, Past and Present and
the 2005 Giant Trees of Wesern America and the World), there really are
not any trees far over 200-250 feet in temperate Asia, any of South
America, or Africa. Here are some quotes from his books:

Andean wax palm (Ceroxylon andicola) -- tallest palm in the world --
"measurements have been made that exceed 200 feet"

Alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) -- a tree of the rainforest of Pacific
Patagonia "a top height of 240 feet"

Silk-cotton tree, (Ceiba pentandra) -- emergent giant of both South
America and West Africa -- "the fact that they reach these heights in
Africa [246 feet] while the tops of teh vast domes of the Ameircan trees
hardly attain 200 feet is possibly due to the higher canopy [crown]
level of African trees."

Brazil Nut (Bertholletia excelsa) -- "there are very few tree species in
the Amazon jungle that reach 200 feet. Among the emergents are Dinizia
excelsa, Ceiba pentandra, and the widely distributed Brazil nut tree
(200 feet)."

He also cites a handful of Himalayan trees in the 200-250 foot range
a cedar (cedrus deodara)
2 firs (Abies spectabilis and A. pindrow)
and 2 species of spruce (Picea smithiana, and P. spinulosa).

Yes, we need some more solid numbers, but the logging interests have
been searching, too, for longer than we have. And while there may be a
tall tree or two in the 275 foot range hiding out in New World tropics
or Africa, it does seem pretty clear that the loggers would have
reported the monster trees that were reported in the 1800's both in
Australia and Pacific NW, and big trees (in the 280+) range have been
reported from Borneo for as long as modern logging has been going on

My main points are these
(1) all temperate and tropical forested regions of the world have
species of trees in the 200-250 foot range (or were historically that
(2) only three regions have trees in the 275-300 foot range and all are
on the Pacific Rim -- southern Australia, Indo-Malaysia, and NW North
(3) rich soils don't seem to be sufficient (Eastern USA) or necessary
(Borneo, some of Australia) conditions
(4) lack of large scale disturbance does not seem to be sufficient or
(5) temperate climate with winter rains do not seem to be either
necessary (Borneo) or sufficient (Europe, Patagonia) conditions
(6) This is an evolutionary question really, since we are talking about
five or six different families from wildly different histories
(7) Many of the tallest everywhere are fast growing -- some can tolerate
shade, but most like all of the Eucalypts and Doug Fir grow rapidly but
only in bright light.

I am working up an hypothesis.....but want to hear others.


World Forest's Rucker Index, 2002   abi
  Oct 29, 2002 11:32 PST 
Bob, et al.,

I applied the Rucker Index to my database to uncover all of the places that exceed 200. Here are the results:

Rucker Index locations over 200

World 305.4
United States 292.8
California 284.8
Australia 270.0
Washington 254.8
Oregon 254.3
Canada/British Columbia 235.9
Olympic National Park 233.7
Tasmania 225.5
Vancouver Island 225.4
Victoria 220.2
Prairie Creek Redwoods 219.1
New South Wales 201.4

The low diversity of trees in some Western forests quickly reduces the Index to below 200. Humboldt Redwoods SP, for example, has the world's tallest tree, and 86 trees over 350'. Due to the overwhelming dominance by redwood, the Index drops below 200 after only six species are included!

Borneo will probably make this list, but good data are scarce.

Rucker Index
  Oct 30, 2002 11:50 PST 
Bob, et al.,

Borneo is one of many SE Asian Islands with tall trees. Koompasia excelsa is the tallest tropical hardwood at over 265'. Many of this species have been measured at oer 250'. No super good data on this, however. Also native to this region is the Dipterocarpaceae, a family of tall tropical trees. At least a dozen Dipterocarps have been recorded over 200', with a handfull measured at over 250'. A Shorea gibsii was recently measured by Impulse laser at 261'.

The African tropics contain a handful of trees that reach 200', but not much more.

The New World tropics have no trees that exceed 200'.