Weight of Colonel Armstrong Tree

Colonel Armstrong Tree

The weight of the Colonel Armstrong Tree is 110 tonnes which is more than they had thought. Previous estimates were 70 to 90 tonnes. Scientist used laser scanning to estimate the weight of the tree more accurately which is 88 m tall (289 feet). The Colonel Armstrong is a giant redwood in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve which is a state park of California in the United States. It is the oldest tree in the grove, estimated to be over 1,400 years old. It is named after a lumberman who chose to preserve this portion of the park in the 1870s and is a half mile walk from the park entrance (source: more or less verbatim from Wikipedia).

Colonel Armstrong Tree

Colonel Armstrong Tree. Photo: in public domain.

The point of the article is that scientists have found a more accurate method to weigh these iconic trees. I’m interested to note that another famous tree, the General Sherman, a giant sequoia, is estimated to weigh 1,121 tonnes which is about ten times the weight and yet the height of the Gen Sherman Tree is 274.9 feet or 83.8 m. It is therefore shorter than the Col Armstrong Tree but it has a much greater circumference.

Previously, when scientists measured the weight of big trees they had to either cut them down or use indirect methods such as manually measuring the diameter and scaling up which can now be seen to have been fairly inaccurate.

Because the trees were a lot heavier than they thought the total carbon stored in them is much higher. As they store more carbon their role in reducing climate change is greater than was once thought. Another benefit is that the trees may be valued more highly than before, which may protect them.

The scientists used a system called Lidar. You point a laser at the object which illuminates it and you measure the reflection with a sensor. They built three-dimensional maps of coastal redwoods at three sites in Northern California. They have also used the system to more accurately measure the weights of trees in other countries. For example, they estimated the weight of a yellow meranti tree in Malaysian Borneo, which has been named Menara, as 88.7 tons. The tree is a little over 100 m in height. Using older methods, Prof Disney from University College London said that the estimate would have been around 40 tonnes.

How does this relate to the animal-human relationship which is the topic of this website? Well, it’s about climate change indirectly i.e. global warming. Global warming is highly relevant to the survival of all animal species.

The research was carried out by a team from University College London and the University of Maryland in the USA.