Freight transportation is an important pathway for the introduction and dissemination of exotic forest insects (EFI). Identifying the final destination of imports is critical in determining the likelihood of EFI establishment. We analyzed the use of regional freight transport information to characterize risk of urban and periurban areas to EFI introductions. Specific objectives were to 1) approximate the final distribution of selected imports among urban areas of the United States, 2) characterize the final distribution of imports in terms of their spatial aggregation and dominant world region of origin, and 3) assess the effect of the final distribution of imports on the level of risk to urban and periurban forests from EFI. Freight pattern analyses were conducted for three categories of imports whose products or packaging materials are associated with EFI: wood products, nonmetallic mineral products, and machinery. The final distribution of wood products was the most evenly distributed of the three selected imports, whereas machinery was most spatially concentrated. We found that the type of import and the world region of origin greatly influence the final distribution of imported products. Risk assessment models were built based on the amount of forestland and imports for each urban area. The model indicated that 84–88% of the imported tonnage went to only 4–6% of the urban areas in the contiguous United States. We concluded that freight movement information is critical for proper risk assessment of EFI. Implications of our findings and future research needs are discussed.
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Vol. 102 • No. 1