After five expeditions, scientists reached the largest tree in the Amazon

After three years of planning, five expeditions and a two-week trek through the jungle, a team of scientists reached the largest tree discovered in the Amazon forest – a huge specimen the size of a 25-story building, BTA reported, citing AFP.

The giant tree whose top towers over the others in the Iratapuru River Nature Reserve in northern Brazil is of the Dinizia excelsa species. Its height is 88.5 m, and its diameter is 9.9 m.

Researchers first spotted it on satellite images in 2019, and a team of scientists, ecologists and local guides attempted to reach it that year. After a ten-day trek over difficult terrain, exhausted, with few provisions and one sick member of the team, they return.

Three more expeditions in the remote area of ​​the Jarry Valley, on the border between the states of Amapa and Pará, led to the discovery of several giant trees, including the largest Brazil nut tree recorded in Amazonia, 66 meters tall.

However, the huge Dinizia excelsa remained elusive until the September 12-25 expedition, during which the researchers covered 250 km by boat and more than 20 km on foot through the mountain jungle.

One of the 19 members of the expedition was bitten by a poisonous spider. But it was worth it, says forest engineer Diego Armando Silva of the Federal University of Amapa.

“It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Just divine,” Silva told AFP.

The team took samples that will be analyzed to determine how old the tree is (according to Silva it is at least 400-600 years old) and how much carbon it stores.

The giant trees in this area weigh up to 400,000 tons, about half of which is carbon absorbed from the atmosphere, Silva said.

Despite their remoteness, these giants are endangered. Lumberjacks value them, and the reserve is invaded by illegal prospectors.

In the previous three years, average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon had increased by 75 percent compared to the previous decade.


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