Michael Taylor (forester)

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Michael Taylor
Michael Taylor in Redwood National Park taking a preliminary measurement with a laser rangefinder
Michael W. Taylor

(1966-04-25) 25 April 1966 (age 58)
Known forDiscovered Hyperion (tree), the tallest tree in the world. Discovered many tall redwood trees.

Michael W. Taylor (born 25 April 1966, in Los Angeles) is a leading discoverer of champion and tallest trees - most notably coast redwoods. In 2006, Taylor co-discovered the tallest known tree in the world, a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) now named "Hyperion". He also discovered "Helios" and "Icarus", the 2nd and 3rd tallest.

National Geographic made a video about the discovery and measuring of Hyperion.[1] The discovery made headlines.[2][3][4]

Taylor has discovered 50 coast redwoods over 350 feet (107 m) tall, and co-discovered approximately 100 more with Chris Atkins and Stephen Sillett, who is the first holder of the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology at Humboldt State University.[5] Taylor and Sillett have collaborated and measured remarkable previously unknown redwoods. Their discoveries have fueled research and public interest in coast redwoods, which are now a World Heritage Site.

Michael is a main character of the non-fiction book (2007) The Wild Trees.[6] The narrative includes how Taylor began exploring for tall trees, measuring tallest trees, and later networking with Pacific coast forest researchers.

Taylor co-discovered the largest known coast redwood named Lost Monarch in the Grove of Titans, as well as Iluvatar in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

Tallest tree discoveries[edit]

Redwoods: Helios and Icarus were discovered in 2006, shortly before Hyperion. Hyperion was the record height coast redwood that prompted National Geographic Society and Save-the-Redwoods League to coordinate a documentary. These are just 3 of many coast redwoods over 350 feet (107 m) feet which Michael Taylor discovered. The details are chronicled at www.talltreesclub.org[dead link]

Tree Name Height
m ft
Hyperion 115.61 379.3
Helios 114.58 375.9
Icarus 113.14 371.2


Pines: Discovery of 4 new world's tallest pine trees, January, 2011.[8]

Largest coast redwood discoveries[edit]

Del Norte Titan is the 4th largest coast redwood known, which Michael Taylor discovered with Dr. Steven Sillett, in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

Taylor discovered and co-discovered the largest known coast redwoods. The locations of these trees have not been disclosed by the National and California State Parks to the general public. For more information see www.landmarktrees.net

Tree Name Location Height Diameter (b.h) Volume Source
m ft m ft m3 ft3
Lost Monarch JSRSP 97.5 320 7.9 26 1203.46 42,500 [9]
Fusion Giant, aka Melkor RNP 106.3 349 6.8 22 1107.2 39,100 [10]
Iluvatar PCRSP 91.43 300.0 6.25 20.5 1061.88 37,500 [9]
Del Norte Titan JSRSP 93.6 307 7.3 24 1053.38 37,200 [9]
El Viejo Del Norte JSRSP 98.7 324 7.1 23 1002.41 35,400 [9]
Howland Hill Giant JSRSP 100.6 330 5.85 19.2 950.9 33,580 [11]


Taylor attended Humboldt State University from 1984 to 1987 studying forestry, attended San Diego State University in 1988, returned to Humboldt State University 1992-94 completing a Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering.


Michael Taylor resides in northern California.


  1. ^ National Geographic: Measuring Hyperion
  2. ^ Eureka, new tallest living thing, San Francisco Chronicle
  3. ^ "For Extreme Tree Hunters, Redwoods Rule". Washington Post.
  4. ^ "For Extreme Tree Hunters, Redwoods Rule". NBC News.
  5. ^ "Sillett: Ken L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology". Archived from the original on 2013-01-04.
  6. ^ Preston, Richard (2007), The Wild Trees: A Story Of Passion And Daring. Allen Lane Publishers.
  7. ^ Christopher J. Earle. "Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood)". The Gymnosperm Database. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  8. ^ KGW News, World's Tallest Pine, January 23, 2011 Archived September 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c d Gymnosperm Database
  10. ^ Vaden, M. D. (2008). Grove of Titans & Atlas Grove. Website Documentary Page.
  11. ^ Van Pelt, R. (2001). Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast. Global Forest. ISBN 0-295-98140-7.