Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Discussions of the great trees and forest of South America.

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AndrewJoslin
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Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Post by AndrewJoslin » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:22 pm

After looking over some of these site descriptions wondering how well potential tall tree sites in Chile and Argentina have been explored and accurately measured with an eye towards the tallest...

http://www.ancientforests.org/chile.htm

And in particular the species Fitzroya cupressoides, aka Patagonia Cypress or Lahuan (indigenous name), reportedly 60 meter trees in Chile and 70 meters in Argentina.

Photos of Fitzroya cupressoides

Looking at some of the photos they appear to be occupying a niche similar to Giant Sequoia in the Sierra Nevada.

-AJ

RyanLeClair
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Re: Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Post by RyanLeClair » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:47 pm

I think Darwin measured some Fitzroya. One was supposedly 12+ m in diameter--yikes!

fooman
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Re: Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Post by fooman » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:28 pm

Conifers.org has some info on the Alerce (http://www.conifers.org/cu/Fitzroya.php)

Tallest offcially measured is 57 m, 2.2 m dbh in Los Alerces National Park, Argentina - (Do a google image search for "El Abuelo Alerce"). Supposedly higher trees elsewhere in the park.

Largest known is "Alerce Milenario", 4.26 m dbh in Alerce Costero Natural Monument, Chile (photo of it here: http://rachelsussman.com/portfolios/OLTW/alerce_2.html). It is supposed to be 60 m tall, but that measurement does not appear to be well supported.

I've always thought the 12 m diameter measurement by Darwin was a typo. More likely to be a circumference.

http://www.wondermondo.com/Countries/SA ... ostero.htm has a discussion on the tree, including the Darwin measurement of 12 m diameter, versus his captain's (Fitzroy) of 12 m circumference.

Cheers,
Matt

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AndrewJoslin
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Re: Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Post by AndrewJoslin » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:50 pm

Thanks Matt, it sure looks like a notational typo on Darwin's part. Oh no, someone's going to use that to further undermine Darwin's credibility and evolutionary theory ;-) Voyage of the Beagle is one of my favorite books, time to re-read it.

If a 60-70 meter "Alerche" is confirmed I believe it would be the tallest South American tree. Unless there is some other species capable of that height on the continent.
-AJ

RyanLeClair
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Re: Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Post by RyanLeClair » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:11 pm

Indeed, 12 meters sounds a little goofy for a diameter. We'll allow him a mistake ;)

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:31 pm

12 meters is not out of the question. The Tule tree in Mexico is 11.5 meters but may be muti-trunk fusion. That's one tree I have to visit. But like you say 12 meters may be a typo. I can imagine 10 -12 meter dia trees in the Virgin Forest of South America. Larry

fooman
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Re: Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Post by fooman » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:14 pm

More information about a Alerce measuring expedition here: http://www.g-eos.org/2010/03/explorers- ... field.html

Of note is quote from Fitzroy's journal:
The largest alerse tree that has been found by any Calbucano during the last forty years measured thirty feet in girth (circ of 9.15 meters), at five feet from the ground; and more than seventy six feet to the first branches. The two largest trees seen by Mr. Douglas, in his excursions for me, measured one twenty four (7.31 meters) and the other twenty-two feet round (6.7meters), at five feet from the from the ground: but these were dead trees, hollow in the centre. He saw none above ten feet in circumference (3 meters), that were quite sound. Report however says, that in the Cordillera, out of the reach of the Calbuco woodsmen, there are enormous trees, from thirty (9 meters) to forty (12.2 meters) in girth”- Robert Fitz-Roy, 1839 (Fitz-Roy R. , 1839)
Cheers,
Matt

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Jess Riddle
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Re: Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Post by Jess Riddle » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:24 am

Fitzroya is also of interest for having the second oldest confirmed ages of any tree species in the world, 3622 years. If I remember the article by Lara and Villalba correctly, that age was from the stump of a tree cut in the 1970's.

Jess

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AndrewJoslin
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Re: Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Post by AndrewJoslin » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:56 am

Interesting, NatGeo expedition recorded no tree height data. Apparently they were only interested in girth for dating/dendrochronology.
-AJ

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KoutaR
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Re: Tall trees in Chile and Argentina?

Post by KoutaR » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:13 pm

It is a pity that the expedition didn't apparently have a laser rangefinder.

Fitzroya's stature resembles giant sequoia, but the latter grows in summer-dry environment subjected to frequent fires (at least in the past). I haven't been to Chile, but I think Fitzroya grows in a wet climate, and also at poorly drained sites. Perhaps western red-cedar (Thuja plicata) would be a better North American equivalent.

Kouta

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