Ancient Giant Trees Found Petrified in Thailand

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#1)  Ancient Giant Trees Found Petrified in Thailand

Postby edfrank » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:50 am

Ancient Giant Trees Found Petrified in Thailand
Mar 20, 2013 06:26 AM ET // by Larry O'Hanlon
http://news.discovery.com/earth/plants/giant-trees-found-in-thailand-130320.htm

               
                       
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Fossil trees that approached the heights of today’s tallest redwoods have been found in northern Thailand. The longest petrified log measures 72.2 meters (237 feet), which suggest the original tree towered to more than 100 meters (330 feet) in a wet tropical forest some 800,000 years ago.

The trees appear to have been closely related to a species alive today called Koompassia elegans, which belongs to the same family as beans, peas and black locust trees, explained lead author of the study, Marc Philippe of France’s University of Lyon. That is to say, the ancient trees are not closely related to today’s tallest trees, which are the Eucalyptus (gum trees) of Australia and Sequoia (redwoods) of California. Both of those living trees can reach about 130 meters (425 feet) in height.


Inside Wood https://www.facebook.com/pages/InsideWood/368062966397
Narareet Boonchai just wrote that these incredible fossil trees in northern Thailand are still in need of protection - they are world's longest continuous fossil trunks ..... and they are legumes, not conifers.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how best to conserve this site -- does anyone have experience with establishing Geoparks? which conservation organizations might be appealed to?

               
                       
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Jess Riddle, John Harvey
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#2)  Re: Ancient Giant Trees Found Petrified in Thailand

Postby Jess Riddle » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:52 pm

Ed,

Interesting article.  It’s always nice to have a little more information of where trees reach extreme heights.  I’m curious about the climate of the area at the time the trees grew since it could be significantly different from today’s.

If there were as much interest in tree height and preservation 100 years ago as there is today, we might still have Koompassia’s that tall.  Roman Dial documented Koompassia nearly that tall in Borneo, and all the best lowland sites there have been converted to agriculture.

I believe Koompassia excelsa is the tallest deciduous species in the world (Shorea fagutiana is evergreen, right?), so it’s always surprised me that Koompassia haven’t received more attention for their height.  “Deciduous tree” seems like a broad enough and important enough category to catch people’s attention.

Thanks for posting.

Jess
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#3)  Re: Ancient Giant Trees Found Petrified in Thailand

Postby edfrank » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:05 pm

The listing from Borneo  from http://www.landmarktrees.net/borneo.html  - Michael Taylor's website.

In a series of expeditions begining in 2005, Brett Mifsud, Tom Greenwood, Roman Dial and local guides Roslizan and Suati collectively rewrote the record book for tallest tropical trees. Mifsud apparently was the first to find and point a laser at 88.32m (290 ft) "Poko gergasi", a Shorea fagueteana, which is a member of the diptocarp family.


Tallest Known Tropical Trees From Borneo:


---Height---         ---Name, Location, Notes----


(feet)  (meters)                

--------------------------------------------------------------
289.8        88.32        Shorea fagueteana, Sabah, Borneo. Diptocarp family
289.2        88.16        Shorea fagueteana, Sabah, Borneo. Diptocarp family
281.0        85.76        Koompassia excelsa, Sabah, Legume family
278.3        84.84        Shorea argentifolia, Sabah, Dipterocarp family
277.0        84.40        Shorea superba, Sabah, Dipterocarp family
271.7        82.82        Hopeia nutans,Sabah, Dipterocarp family
269.9        82.27        Shorea smithiana, Sabah, Dipterocarp
269.0        81.90        Koompassia excelsa, Sabah, Legume family
266.0        81.11        Shorea gibbosa,Sabah, Dipterocarp                
--------------------------------------------------------------


These are the trees in the World Rucker Index as far as I know.  I have not tried to compile a listing of the tallest outside of the Pacific west coast, nor am I familiar with the characteristically of many of the other trees:

               
                       
World_rucker01.jpg
                                       
               


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#4)  Re: Ancient Giant Trees Found Petrified in Thailand

Postby Shorea » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:35 am

Jess Riddle wrote:Ed,

Interesting article.  It’s always nice to have a little more information of where trees reach extreme heights.  I’m curious about the climate of the area at the time the trees grew since it could be significantly different from today’s.

If there were as much interest in tree height and preservation 100 years ago as there is today, we might still have Koompassia’s that tall.  Roman Dial documented Koompassia nearly that tall in Borneo, and all the best lowland sites there have been converted to agriculture.

I believe Koompassia excelsa is the tallest deciduous species in the world (Shorea fagutiana is evergreen, right?), so it’s always surprised me that Koompassia haven’t received more attention for their height.  “Deciduous tree” seems like a broad enough and important enough category to catch people’s attention.

Thanks for posting.

Jess


According to a book I have on Danum Valley, the record height for a Koompassia excelsa is stated as 89 meters tall (Richards, 1996). I don't know how true/accurate this record is, but this would make it the tallest tropical tree in the world, slightly surpassing the 88.32 record set by the Shorea faguetiana.


Directly quoting from the book:

Giant trees recorded in Sabah include an 89-m-tall Koompassia excelsa (Bean family, Leguminosae; Richards, 1996), another huge specimen 88 m tall and 2.7 m in diameter, and a colossal specimen of Shorea superba (Dipterocarpacae), with a total height of 75 m, a clear bole of 27 m, and a girth of 9.5 m at 4 m above ground (equivalent to 3 m diameter) (Ashton, 1982). It is because of surpassing timber volumes that the forests of Malesia have suffered from the most logging impacts in the whole of Asia.


Since practically the whole of Borneo has been turned into a giant timber yard, and now, an enormous oil palm plantation, we will never know just how tall they could grow, given the right conditions. If action was taken 50 years ago, we might still be able to save significant tracts. The best area for these giants was eastern Sabah, with volcanic basalt soil, now mostly turned into oil palm (and logged beforehand).
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#5)  Re: Ancient Giant Trees Found Petrified in Thailand

Postby edfrank » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:29 am

Darrin,

The Tropical Rain Forest An Ecological Study, 2nd Edition
P. W. Richards, University of Wales, Bangor

"The first edition of The Tropical Rain Forest is firmly established as one of the classics of botanical literature. In this new and completely revised edition, Professor Richards provides a personal view of the field, based on over sixty years involvement in rain forest ecology. Climatic changes and human pressures have a major impact on the rain forests and it is now possible to see the possibility of their complete destruction. This book represents an important record of the rain forest in the twentieth century."  http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/i ... cale=en_GB

Here is an excerpt from the Richards Book containing the table of tall trees:

               
                       
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Cockburn, P.F (1976). Trees of Sabah. Vol. 1. Sabah Forest Record No. 10. Jabatan Hutan Sabah,
Malaysia.

Gray B. Size composition and regeneration of Araucaria stands in New Guinea. Journal of Ecology (British Ecological Society), 63: 273-289.


http://www.wondermondo.com/Countries/Au/Papua/Morobe/BuloloKlinki.htm
It is not known whether currently there exists 88.9 m tall (or taller) Klinki pine - but it existed in 1941. Back then such a tree was measured and later mentioned in a classical ecology book by Paul W.Richards "The Tropical Rain Forest: An Ecological Study" which was issued in 1952.  Since then the fact that such a tall araucaria might exist in Papua New Guinea has been repeated in many scientific works, notably in article by Gray B. (Size composition and regeneration of Araucaria stands in New Guinea) in 1975. There is little dooubt that klinki pine is the tallest of all araucarias. This tree grows in Madang, Morobe and Eastern Highlands Provinces of Papua New Guinea, in mountain sides and ridges.  The wood of klinki has outstanding qualities and this beautiful araucaria is widely exploited, it is cut also by slash&burn agriculture. As a result this tree is becoming more rare and nowadays natural stands can be found in more remote areas.  These trees are very impressive. Average diameter of klinki in oldgrowth stands is 200cm and more! Trees in such stand are at least 55m tall, often exceeding 70m height.  The fantastic 89.9m tree was measured near Bulolo. Currently in Bulolo has been established an important forestry industry with large plantations of klinki pine. Happily natural stands of this tree are not too rare.  Wondermondo has marked a beautiful stand of klinki pine in Wau Gorge some 15km from Bulolo. No one knows whether here are 90m tall trees - but it is definitely worth to check it out!
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky
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#6)  Re: Ancient Giant Trees Found Petrified in Thailand

Postby Joe » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:10 am

I'm interested in the geology of the site- is that really bedrock or a hard packed alluvial deposit? If the latter, then how can the trees be petrified? If the former, that's a huge job digging out something that huge. And, how did they discover that the site had these trees buried? I'm going to remain a bit skeptical until I can read a scientific report on this discovery. If they really are fossilized - I wouldn't think they'd need much protection from the weather, the way an archeological site does- after all, it's stone- just a fence around it should do the trick.
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#7)  Re: Ancient Giant Trees Found Petrified in Thailand

Postby Joe » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:15 am

OK, now that I read the article, I know a bit more- but I'd like to learn a lot more about the geology of the site, the age of the rocks, etc.
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#8)  Re: Ancient Giant Trees Found Petrified in Thailand

Postby edfrank » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:55 pm

Most petrified wood is formed in deposits of volcanic ash and/or alluvial deposits.  Mineral laden water replaces the the wood with precipitates from the solution.  The decay itself creates an anoxic that will cause some minerals to drop out of the solution as precipitates, most notably silica as both gels and crystals.  The other petrified wood often found is actually preserved real wood that has been buried in a swamp in clay sized sediment.  There is some mineral replacement, but actual pieces of the original wood material may remain.  The process that forms the petrified wood is very similar to that which caused concretions to from around many plant or animal fossils.  The decay of the organic matter causes a reducing environment in the immediate vicinity of the fossil itself leading to the precipitation of silica and often ferrous and opposed to ferric iron minerals.  As for compacted alluvium of bedrock, the distinction between the two is variable and often depends on the use being made of the material.  

Ed
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#9)  New member from Thailand

Postby nana_paleobot » Sat May 18, 2013 3:22 pm

Hi,

I am a paleobotanist, studying fossil trees. My main research works are petrified woods from Southwestern Wyoming and from Thailand.
One of my current projects that I am trying to do are conserving and protecting fossil trees (petrified wood range from 20m-72m long) in a forest park of northwestern part of Thailand where the fossil trees were found outstanding in the living dipterocarp & mixed deciduous forest.

Photo of the fossil trunk bane be see below:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Museums- ... =1&theater

I am new to the board. Thank you for sharing many interesting and helpful information from NTS and also thank you for approving my registration to Native Tree Society group.
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#10)  Re: New member from Thailand

Postby Joe » Sat May 18, 2013 4:04 pm

Nareerat, somebody posted your link a few months ago to this site. We had a brief discussion about the geology of the site. From the photo, it almost looks as if the fossil trees are simply buried in sandy soil- but I presume that's rock. Can you tell us what the rock is and do you have a theory as to how those trees got buried? During a flood?
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