Photo of the Day: Giant Taiwan red cypress discovered in Taitung

Giant 2,000-year-old Taiwan red cypress discovered in mountains of eastern Taiwan

Men dwarfed by giant tree. (Image from Taiwan Forestry Bureau)

Men dwarfed by giant tree. (Image from Taiwan Forestry Bureau)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- During a survey of forests in the Dapu Mountain area, the Taitung Forest District rangers discovered over 100 Taiwan red cypress (chamaecyparis formosensis) trees well over 1,000 years in age, reported Apple Daily.

During an 11-day survey of forests deep in the Dapu Mountain area carried out only once every 10 years, 13 Taitung Forest District rangers were amazed to find 100 primeval Taiwan red cypress and Taiwania (Taiwania cryptomerioides) trees well over 1,000 years old. One of the largest of which had a diameter at breast height of 4.8 meters and a circumference of 15 meters, and it took 10 men to be able to completely embrace its trunk.

This precious, ancient tree grove is situated near the Shuangguei Lake Major Wildlife Habitat (雙鬼湖自然保護區), which is located at the convergence of Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Taitung counties. In 2007, Pingtung Forest District rangers found a tree in the nature reserve that was about 60 meters tall, had a circumference of 20.16 meters, and a diameter at breast height of 6.4 meters.

Taiwan red cypress grove. (Image from Taiwan Forestry Bureau)

However when a deep mountain exploration contingent surveyed the area in 2016, they found that the massive tree had been badly damaged by Typhoon Morakot. During the latest expedition, rangers were able to find another Taiwan red cypress in another location in the reserve with a circumference of 19.6 meters and an estimated age of 2,000 years.

There were over 100 Taiwan red cypresses spotted around the mammoth tree, marking the first time such a large grove had been found in the Shuanggui Lake Nature Reserve.

Rangers scaling steep terrain. (Image from Taiwan Forestry Bureau)

Undisturbed wilderness. (Image from Taiwan Forestry Bureau)

Ranger taking a tree core sample. (Image from Taiwan Forestry Bureau)

Rangers dwarfed by giant Taiwan red cypress. (Image from Taiwan Forestry Bureau)