Death of Texas trees yields model for future recovery plans

A recent collaboration involving the Texas A&M Forest Service and NASA scientists could help urban planners in Texas more quickly coordinate recovery efforts following a natural disaster.

The project, which also included the U.S. Forest Service and other groups, used satellite imagery and other remote sensing information to authenticate the number of urban trees killed by drought in 2011 and 2012.

The study used aerial imagery and other models to measure urban canopies in two cities, Austin and Houston, from 2010 to 2018 to reveal both the effects of the drought and trends in recovery. Researchers confirmed earlier findings that 5.6 million urban trees were killed statewide.

Burl Carraway, chief operating officer for the Texas A&M Forest Service, says cities can more quickly determine damage to trees and other vegetation after a disaster and implement a recovery plan.

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