USA — As many as 500 million trees scattered across the Lone Star State have died this year as a result of the unrelenting drought, according to preliminary estimates from Texas Forest Service.
The Texas Forest Service reports that the numbers were derived by agency foresters, who canvassed local forestry professionals, gathering information from them on the drought and its effect on trees in their respective communities.
Each forestry expert estimated the percentage of trees in their region that have died as a result of the 2011 drought. That percentage was applied to the estimated number of trees in the region, a figure determined by the agencys Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) program.
Using this approach, an estimated 100 million to 500 million trees with a diameter of 5 inches or larger on forestland were estimated to have succumbed to the drought. That range is equivalent to 2 to 10 percent of the states 4.9 billion trees.
The preliminary estimates indicate three multi-county areas appear to be the hardest hit. The area including Sutton, Crockett, western Kimble and eastern Pecos counties saw extensive mortality among Ashe junipers.
The area including Harris, Montgomery, Grimes, Madison and Leon counties saw extensive mortality among loblolly pines. Western Bastrop and eastern Caldwell counties, as well as surrounding areas, saw extensive mortality among cedars and post oaks.
Additionally, localized pockets of heavy mortality were reported for many other areas.