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Taiwan research team unveils map of island’s tallest trees

A team of researchers on Saturday unveiled a "map of Taiwanese superlative trees," with the research showing that the island comes close to having the highest density of trees over 65 meters tall in the world.

The map (https://no1tree.tw) represents the team's work over five years and documents 941 trees in Taiwan standing 65 m and taller, most of which are located along the country's Central Mountain, Xueshan, and Alishan mountain ranges.

Using raw data compiled by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), the team told CNA that they had located the superlative trees, classified by height, using a unique methodology developed by the researchers.

However, the team said that the methodology was limited as it did not allow researchers to identify the species of most trees on the map.

The tallest known tree in Taiwan is a Taiwania tree measuring 79.1 m in height located in a valley in the Shei-Pa National Park, the team said.

Judging by the data collected, Taiwan has one of the highest densities of superlative trees in the world, with 941 specimens, according to the researchers.

National Cheng Kung University Professor Wang Chi-kuei (???), who co-led the project alongside Taiwan Forestry Research Institute Assistant Researcher Rebecca Hsu (???), said that only 2.1 percent of climate zones are considered conducive for the existence of superlative trees.

The preservation of superlative trees has been made more challenging with climate change and logging, and experts have forecast that such trees will go extinct in a few decades, Wang said.

Taiwan is an ideal habitat for the growth of superlative trees, and the location of such trees in difficult-to-get-to places on the island has protected them from loggers, Wang added.

Using airborne light detection and ranging and a unique algorithm, the team identified 941 trees standing 65 m and taller across Taiwan over five years, Wang said.

To further its understanding of Taiwan's mountains and forestry, the team plans to embark on a project that seeks to find out how many superlative trees died over a 10-year period, Wang added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel