Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania is set to include the
Africa’s tallest indigenous tree into the list of the country’s
must-visit tourist hotspots, authorities have said.
The 81.5-meter Entandrophragma
excelsum sits on one of the foothills of yet Africa’s tallest
mountain, the world-famous Mountain Kilimanjaro.
Said Mecky Sadiki, Kilimanajaro
Regional Commissioner, said Monday he would lead a team of
regional senior officials on the tour to tree’s location to pave
way for its pending launch and international publicity.
“This is one of the untapped products,
when it comes towards promoting it so that it lures more
visitors as other tourist destinations do,” the official
The approximately 600-year-old tree
matches Africa’s previous tree-height record established by a
specimen of the introduced Sydney blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna)
in Limpopo, South Africa.
The previous South African
record-holder died in 2006, making the Tanzania’s the reigning
tree when it comes to height. If well marketed by the Tanzania
Tourist Board (TTB), the attraction is likely to turn into a
cash cow for the country.
It was first spotted by Andreas Hemp
of the University of Bayreuth in Germany, a researcher who was
exploring Mount Kilimanjaro’s vegetation some 20 years ago.
The unusual height of a bunch of trees
he saw aroused his curiosity but it was not until recently that
his team was able to measure their heights accurately using new
Hemp and his team measured 32
specimens with laser instruments between 2012 and 2016, finding
that the 10 tallest individuals ranged from 59.2 to 81.5 meters
in height and 0.98 to 2.55 meters in diameter. Hemp estimates
from growth rates that the arboreal behemoths are between 500
and 600 years old.
According to records, the world’s
tallest trees are not normally found in Africa. The world record
holder, a 116-metre-tall sequoia tree is found in North America
and in second position is a 100-metre-tall eucalyptus in
Scientists believe that Africa’s poor
show in the world’s tallest tree list may be attributed to both
a shortage of studies in the continent and the limited resources
that prevent them from getting too tall.
They say this is not the case with
Kilimanjaro area known to have nutrient-rich volcanic soils,
high temperatures and precipitation that may have helped drive
the growth of Africa’s tallest tree.