COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- A preliminary state estimate says as many as a half-billion trees died this year across Texas from the drought persisting across much of the state.

The Texas Forest Service said in a statement Monday that its foresters estimated that 100 million to 500 million trees died in the 2011 drought.

The forest service preliminary estimates found three areas to be hardest hit.

One, in Sutton, Crockett, Kimble and Pecos counties in West Texas, saw an extensive die-off of Ashe junipers.

Another, in Harris, Montgomery, Grimes, Madison and Leon counties of Southeast Texas, saw a big die-off of loblolly pines.

Meanwhile, Bastrop and Caldwell counties in Central Texas saw big losses of cedars and post oaks.