Texas A&M Forest Service Survey Shows 301 Million Trees Died in the 2011 Drought

Taken from Texas A&M release — “A Texas A&M Forest Service survey of hundreds of forested plots scattered across the state shows 301 million trees were killed as a result of the devastating 2011 drought.

The number was determined by a study of both on-the-ground tree health assessments collected during a three-month period earlier this year and satellite imagery from before and after the drought.

The findings fall right in the middle of original estimates gathered last fall that indicated roughly 100 million to 500 million trees had died as a result of the drought.

“The drought produced traumatic results, especially for individual landowners. But the good news is the forest is resilient. When a dead tree falls over, a young, new tree eventually will grow back in its place,” said Burl Carraway, department head for the Texas A&M Forest Service Sustainable Forestry department.  “Tree death is a natural forest process. We just had more last year than previous years.”

The findings represent the number of trees in rural, forested areas that died as a direct result of the drought, as well as those that succumbed to insect infestation or disease because they were drought-stressed.

The figure does not include trees in cities and towns.  Another 5.6 million trees in urban areas — along streets and in yards and parks — also died as a result of the drought, according to a study done earlier this year by the Texas A&M Forest Service Urban Forestry program.

The drought assessment of rural, forested areas was done in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis program and the Texas A&M University Ecosystem Science and Management Department.”   For more see the release.

Kim Cassel