Trekking for Tropical Conifers
On January 12th, Will Koomjian, one half of Portland, Oregon big tree measuring team Ascending the Giants, departed for Jakarta, Indonesia with a mission to document trees from Banda Aceh to Papua New Guinea. He is planning to spend over six months trekking through this massive archipelago with the goal of documenting large tropical conifers of the related genera Agathis and Araucaria. Read more about this remarkable, ancient tree family here.
The data he will be collecting includes tree height, trunk diameter and crown spread as well as exact location and elevation, notes on habitat, tree condition and conservation status. Methods used on will vary from those on Ascending the Giants expeditions only in that height will be determined using a laser rangefinder/digital clinometer rather than through climbing.
The immediate goal is to add this information, with accompanying high-resolution photographs, to the public knowledge through published articles both on this website and in public forums such as The Gymnosperm Database and Wikipedia. This project has been concieved not as a standalone project, but as the first expedition in a larger effort to gather information and raise awareness of the existence of these ancient tree species. Shortly after Will returns to Oregon he will be making public presentations on the findings of this project and will begin making arraingments for further field work, including a planned Ascending the Giants trip to explore and document these forests from above the ground.
Throughout the course of this trip, regular updates will be made to this page in the form of blog entries, photos, and GPS coordinates accessible through Google maps. Those items will be posted on this page, so stay tuned.
This project is entirely self-funded and directed and unaffiliated with any school or NGO, and is a direct outgrowth of the big tree awareness efforts of Ascending the Giants. For the most part, Will will be traveling solo and is bringing all essential measuring and camping gear in his backpack. You can read more about his motivations and aspirations for this project here.
The other half of Ascending the Giants, Brian French, will remain in Portland maintaining the Oregon Big Tree Registry and local public relations regarding champion trees. Both Brian and Will can be reached through the e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org