(File pix) In this handout photo issued by Sabah Forestry Department on July 16, 2017, department staff Juanis Runcin is seen climbing the tallest tree in Danum Valley, Sabah. Archive image courtesy of Forestry Department

KOTA KINABALU: Scientists from the University of Nottingham and University of Oxford, United Kingdom, have found the world’s first 100m tall tropical tree in Danum Valley Conservation Area, Lahad Datu.

The previous record of 96.9m was held by a Shorea faguetiana tree from the Dipterocarpaceae family in Tawau Hills Park last year. According to a National Geographic report the team which is working with Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP), has named the tree “menara”, which is Malay for tower.

The tree is longer than a soccer field and weighs approximately 81,500kg.

Initially, it was spotted from the air, before the actual height was determined by climbing and using a tape measure.

SEARPP research assistant Jamiluddin Jami who was tasked with the job, said it had not been easy as even the presence of tiny animals could be life-threatening.

“This kind of expedition is good for our community and rainforest conservation.

“It’s about friendship too, a successful climb like this is not about one person. You need a great, skilled team.

“It is important to know that conserving the primary rainforest is bearing fruit. Some of these unique, giant trees are still out there, they haven’t all been lost,” wrote the arborist in the report.

He said ever since he started getting involved in rainforest replanting programmes and planting seedlings at the age of 13, he realised the importance of the forest.

He said he hoped that the trees would be around for years to come for future generations to see.

In 2016, the New Straits Times reported that the whereabouts of the top 50 tallest tropical trees were located in Sabah, with 33 in the Danum Valley, 10 in Tabin, one in the Maliau Basin and others in the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) area.

The Danum Valley, Tabin, and Maliau Basin forest reserves are under the custody of the Yayasan Sabah Foundation, which is the state government’s statutory body.

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