Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation (WPEF)

We are a science-based non-profit dedicated to counteracting the decline of whitebark pine and enhancing knowledge about the value of its ecosystems.


[email protected]

Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation
PO Box 17943
Missoula, Montana 59808

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Distributional Data: Data Call 1

Whitebark Pine Distribution Maps Now Available

Thank You to everyone who submitted data in response to the National Whitebark Pine Restoration Plan, Data Call 1: Request for Distributional Data. The submitted data has been compiled and new maps are now available. You can find background information along with maps and data layers below.

Link to 2019 WBP Distribution Map

Link to 2019 WBP Distribution Map w/FWS Analysis Units

Link to Spatial Data containing Layer Downloads

2019 Map of U.S. Distribution of Whitebark Pine


The development of the National Whitebark Pine Restoration Plan (NWPRP) is a multi-agency effort organized by the U.S. Forest Service in collaboration with American Forests and the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation. This effort recognizes that rangewide declines in whitebark pine require a strategic national response.

The foundation of the NWPRP is the identification of essential core areas in need of restoration, according to biological criteria to be named in a later data call. These “core areas” will serve to focus agency resources and target NGO fund-raising to restore a critical number of whitebark pine populations to insure the future survival of the species.

To facilitate identification of core areas, some land management agencies and tribal jurisdictions require additional data on whitebark pine distribution for accurate assessments.  Some of these data have been compiled and made available, but we are also missing additional data sources that exist as records within individual agencies, organizations, and may be in the possession of researchers.

New and updated distributional and health status information will be used as follows:  (1) To fill-in distributional gaps, especially correcting areas where whitebark pine is currently absent; (2) to revise the current coarse-scale (1 km2) spatial data layers made available to agencies; and (3) to develop other layers incorporating health status, such as percent rust and beetle infection and mortality.

Link to Data Submission Information


Map Product from Data Call 1


The new 1 km-scale raster image below of whitebark pine distribution in the United States is intended for use as a whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) distribution layer in areas where more detailed distribution data do not already exist or in areas where contiguous data are required. This raster layer may also be used to display the whitebark pine distribution within the United States.


We assembled the new whitebark pine distribution layer by geographic area using the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) Analysis Units (AUs) map created for the Whitebark Pine Species Status Assessment (FWS 2018). This FWS 2018 map was partly based on the 2014 Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation distribution map (https://whitebarkfound.org/resources/maps/). In cases where AUs had existing maps at a more detailed resolution than the FWS 2018 distribution map, we used these more detailed maps as the starting map for creation of the new distribution layer. The starting maps used for each AU are listed in Table 1 below.

In geographic areas where we were unable to locate detailed maps, the FWS 2018 whitebark pine distribution map was edited by elevation to eliminate unlikely occurrences. The elevational cutoff for each AU was chosen based on the lowest points existing in the point dataset for that AU, after outliers were eliminated. Point datasets used to select elevation cutoffs included US Forest Service (USFS) Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data points and National Park Service (NPS) Inventory and Monitoring data points. The elevational cut offs for each AU are listed in Table 1 below.
New data points were added based on USFS geospatial records from FIA data, FSVeg, and Plus Trees; and data from NPS park units, NPS Inventory and Monitoring, and regional data from all agencies and tribes. New data points were buffered by 1 km (that is, distribution was extended by 1 km in all directions around a point). All polygons were converted to 1 km rasters. Rasters for each AU were combined to create one raster for the US distribution of whitebark pine habitat.

Link to Table of Data Sources


Hi5DB Information

Overview of the Hi5DB Plot Database

The High-elevation five-needle white pine database (Hi5DB) is a specialized repository for georeferenced plot data that describe the presence and abundance of high-elevation five-needle white pines, and the associated infection and mortality incidence of mountain pine beetle and white pine blister rust.  The data are contributed by managers, researchers, and other volunteers who collect field measurements on the status and health of the six high elevation five-needle white pines that comprise the database: whitebark, limber, southwestern white, Great Basin bristlecone, Rocky Mountain bristlecone, and foxtail pine. The Hi5DB was developed from the Whitebark-Limber Pine Information System (WLIS), which was originally introduced in 2005 by the USFS, Forest Health Protection, as a repository for plot-level summary data from surveys of whitebark and limber pine.

The Hi5DB expands on WLIS to archive plot records and map the health status of the six Hi5 pines across their ranges for various land management applications. Currently, the Hi5DB includes FIA plots and survey plots that were identified from the literature or submitted by agencies or investigators.  Although records are entered as plot-level data summaries, more detailed information beyond what is provided in the spreadsheet can be obtained from the original author/provider/source.

The database is currently in a static format on an Excel spreadsheet and will be housed at the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station Data Archive site for general usage.

Instructions for Entering Data & Submitting Spreadsheets

We are soliciting any georeferenced plot data that describes whitebark pine abundance, status, and health.  If you have data, please enter your information into the Hi5DB_Template.xlxs spreadsheet. The Rocky Mountain Research Station has created the Hi5DB_Template.xlxs Excel spreadsheet to specify the kinds, types, and formats of the data acceptable to include in the Hi5DB, and as a template for you, the user, to reformat your data into the Hi5DB format.  If you open the template you will see four separate worksheets. The first worksheet (Hi5DB_Overview) is background information on the Hi5DB data format. The Hi5DB_MasterData worksheet displays all fields included in the Hi5DB and shows all the various types of data that can be entered into the database including real data examples.  However, there are many fields that have complicated definitions, so the Hi5DB_Reduced worksheet shows a minimum number of fields may be added to the Hi5DB.  The last worksheet is the Hi5DB_Fields and it contains all the metadata for each field in the Hi5DB_MasterData and Hi5DB_Reduced worksheets. The metadata include detailed definitions of fields and codes used for each column in the data worksheets.

Please send your Hi5DB_Template.xlxs spreadsheets to Chris Stalling (406-829-7386, [email protected]) or to Dr. Robert Keane at RMRS (406- 329-4846, [email protected]).

Note: If you do not have the time to reformat, please send your original data file and its corresponding metadata to us and we will format your data for you.  And also note that you need NOT have values for all fields in the Hi5DB; we will take data for any of the fields as long as the plots are georeferenced locations (long/lat, UTMs).

A separate but comparable campaign for data collection is also underway for the other high elevation five needle pines in the U.S. (foxtail, Great Basin bristlecone, limber, Rocky Mountain bristlecone, southwestern white). This effort is designed to develop a single database on these species, which are declining from infection by white pine blister rust and other destructive agents.  Variables for the other pines are the same as those assigned to whitebark pine to ensure database compatibility.  If you have any data on these other Hi5 species that you can contribute, please reformat if possible and then send to Chris Stalling (406-829-7386, [email protected]). Original data sets with metadata are also acceptable. There isn’t a deadline on receipt of these other Hi5 data, but if you can provide data during 2018, it would be extremely useful.