MPBSpread: Modeling the spread of mountain pine beetle in novel habitats


Dr. Allan Carroll, PhD

Dr. Brad Seely, PhD

Dr. Clive Welham, PhD

Arnold Moy, MSc

Designing a Model

MPBSPREAD IS A SPATIALLY EXPLICIT CELLULAR AUTOMATA MODEL that simulates the spread of epidemic mountain pine beetle populations (see Carroll et al. 2017). It comprises the application of a series of rules describing mountain pine beetle behavior in relation to host-tree, stand and landscape characteristics. These rules are used to calculate from one year to the next, the probability of colonization from an occupied cell to suitable but unoccupied ‘recipient’ cells. Actual colonization events are then triggered as binary events (colonized, or not) by a randomization process.

Understanding the Possibilities

MPBSPREAD WAS INITIALLY DEVELOPED to evaluate the efficacy of mountain pine beetle management in the newly invaded pine forests of Alberta. The primary objective was to determine the effectiveness of conventional direct control efforts at slowing the spread of the beetle in comparison to alternative strategies, including doing nothing. Results showed that eradication of small infestations along the leading edge of the invasion front have significantly slowed eastward spread. Ongoing work focusses on (i) the potential for novel direct and indirect management tactics to slow spread and impacts, (ii) the ramifications of restricting direct control in protected areas, and (iii) the implications of climate change on mountain pine beetle invasiveness.