Texas Forest Service conducting 'dead tree census'
Lufkin, Texas — Crews from the Texas Forest Service will spend the next two months combing the state counting trees killed by last year’s historic drought.
In an attempt to get a picture of the mortality rate, personnel will survey 700 plots of land, each specifically targeted by agency analysts who studied satellite images of tree canopy across the state.
District Forester Todd Nightingale with the Texas Forest Service said of those 700 plots of land, 300 of those are in East Texas.
“What we’re looking at is going back and reassessing some points we’ve located throughout East Texas,” Nightingale said. “It’s a statistical sample, and we’re going to take a quick look at what we estimated was gone. We’re going back out, and we’re going to get some hard numbers. Our staff will be out in the field, working with private owners and industrial owners to go out onto the property and put in these samples to get an idea of the true mortality is out in the woods.”
Crews will note the number of dead trees in a 75-foot radius on each plot, according to forestry officials, also collecting information, when available, about the prevalence of bark beetles and Hypoxylon canker, two potentially-deadly health concerns for drought-stressed trees.