Drought takes a toll on Texas trees
The forests of Texas continue to suffer through one of the most extreme droughts on record and a large number of trees have already died. The photo shows mortality in Memorial Park, Houston (Ron Billings, Texas Forest Service). By late August of 2011, the regional change in greenness from the prior year were extreme. Across the map, this decline was caused by the combined effects of drought and fire. By December of 2011, some recovery occurred as shown in blue, but this December condition is only with respect to conditions in December of 2010, which was also a drought. Note, the persisting anomaly near the western extent of the state's forests (above the word “Mexico”). Such transitional or “ecotonal” landscapes, where forest and grassland meet, are highly sensitive to climate extremes. See the Texas Forest Service website for more information on this event (http://txforestservice.tamu.edu).