Mountain Pine Beetle Seed Planning Impact & Opportunity Mapping

There is a need for spatially-enabled decision support tools to support seed planning activities such as cone collection and seed inventory management.

The aim is to allow forest managers, stewards and practitioners to

  • Conduct Genetic Resource Management (GRM) impact and risk assessments,
  • Map current and future tree improvement and seed use opportunities, and
  • Determine where forests are vulnerable with regards to genetic adaptation, diversity, and resilience to climate change.

The impact of the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) is equally important when gauging forest health and assessing the implications for seed planning. The results of this decision support project are meant to support both strategic and operational level planning activities. However, these maps are not intended to replace on-the-ground verification, or negate the need to look at current or forecast seed inventories.

GIS analyses have been done to integrate seed planning spatial data with the Mountain Pine Beetle Impact Mapping project and geodatabase (MPBBIO). The MPBBIO geodatabase includes the following seed planning spatial data sets:

  • Orchard and natural stand seed planning zones (SPZ),
  • New Western larch climate change seed planning zones,
  • Orchard seed planning units, and
  • Natural stand seedlots.

A series of interactive PDF maps have been developed in 22 priority management units (Timber Supply areas or TSAs). In addition, opportunity maps were developed to identify potential opportunities related to cone collection within two of the management units (Williams Lake TSA and Quesnel TSA).

Pine Mask

The model identifies potential opportunities for seed planning and cone collection within pine stands identified as having greater than or equal to 30% pine in the management unit (TSA). The pine mask includes Vegetation Resource Inventory (VRI) polygons with at least 30% lodgepole pine (Pl and Pli), and/or ponderosa pine (Py), whitebark pine (Pa), Western white pine (Pw), jack pine (Pj), and limber pine (Pf).

Spatial Mountain Pine Beetle Data Layer Updates

The Mountain Pine Beetle Seed Planning Impact geodatabase and interactive PDF maps include the following updates: 

Source (Spatial) Data

Date of Source Data

Mountain pine beetle attack status and severity


Timber Harvest, including small scale salvage areas

combination of 2009 and 2010 (small-scale salvage 2006/07)




combination of Version 6 and 7

Seed Planning (zones, units, seedlots)

2010 (Jan, 2011)

Cone Collection Opportunity Mapping

Cone Collection Opportunities Scoring System

These maps amalgamate Seed Planning spatial data with mountain pine beetle impact mapping and, through the application of a rating system, are used to develop derivative map results and queries to assess potential cone collection opportunities as LOW, MODERATE or HIGH. The collection opportunities are based on a scoring system that assigns a relative ranking based on the following parameters and assumptions:

Mountain Pine Beetle Attack Status – Sites are assigned to one of three mountain pine beetle attack status classes: red, new grey, and no attack. The older the attack status (for example, new grey), the lower the potential for cone collection opportunity.

  • New Grey (attacked 4 to 7 years ago) = Low Opportunity
  • Red Attack (attacked 1 to 3 years ago) = Moderate Opportunity
  • Green Attack (none/trace) = High Opportunity

Age Class – Cones can only be collected from stands with an age class of 2 to 5 (21 to 100 years).

Elevation – Opportunities are classified into three elevation bands that group potential cone collection sites into low, mid and high elevation seedlots as follows: 800 to 1000 metres, 1000 to 1300m, and 1300 to 1600m.

Supporting Documentation

The following information is available to help guide you in using the GIS (geodatabase) and map products:

GIS Data and Map Products

Mountain Pine Beetle Seed Planning Impact interactive PDF map plots are available for the following 22 management units:

100 Mile

Fort St. James














Williams Lake


Kootenay Lake



Dawson Creek


Prince George


Contact us for GIS spatial data sets (Mountain Pine Beetle Seed Planning geodatabase). 

Historical Mountain Pine Beetle Seed Planning

A series of Mountain Pine Beetle Seed Planning communications outlined below were developed in 2007. They highlight our understanding of the current state of Interior Lodgepole Pine (Pli) seed availability, including

  • Short-term seed inventory analysis,
  • Legal considerations for cone collections and registrations, and
  • Superior provenance stand collection opportunities.

Seed planning is an important aspect of our forest stewardship and reforestation activities.