Dispersal patterns of pine wilt disease in the early stage of its invasion in South Korea.
We characterized the dispersal patterns of pine wilt disease (PWD) in the early stage of its invasion in the South Korea, and estimated the influence of environmental factors on the dispersal of PWD. Data were obtained in 10 regions with at least five consecutive years of data for 10 years from 1994 to 2005. The dispersal patterns of PWD were categorized into four types: type 1 is a jumping type of dispersal, forming new patches; type 2 infestations are ones without any expansion of patch size; and types 3 and 4, respectively, show uni-directional or multi-directional dispersal outward from an existing patch. Dispersal patterns changed during different phases of the pathogen's invasion history: type 1 was the most frequent in the early invasion stage. Annual dispersal distance showed regional variations. Human population density had a positive correlation with the dispersal distance of PWD, indicating that anthropogenic factors can contribute to the dispersal of PWD. Our results suggested that dispersal through jumping from areas occupied by PWD was the main dispersal route in the early stage of invasion and that after this phase, the existing colonies expanded and merged. These results supported the existence of stratified dispersal patterns of PWD.