We present a study that analyzes the risk of forest insect spread with firewood and develops a related dispersal function for application in geographically explicit invasion models. Our primary data source was the US National Recreation Reservation Service database, which records camper reservations at >2500 locations nationwide. For >5 million individual reservations, we calculated the distance between camper home address and campground location. We then constructed an empirical density kernel from these distance data, and fitted them with various probability density functions. We found the data to be strongly leptokurtic and log-normally distributed. Most campers (59%) traveled less than 100 km, but 8% traveled more than 500 km (and some as far as 4500 km). Additionally, we analyzed the impact of geographic region as well as proximity to major parks and urban centers on the shape of the dispersal kernel. In this presentation, we also discuss the potential for these results to serve as a proxy for other mechanisms of long-distance dispersal.
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