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-   -   Forest preservation works in Mexican butterfly reserve, but Monarchs face host of threats (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/butterflies-moths/7716-forest-preservation-works-mexican-butterfly-reserve-but-monarchs-face-host-threats.html)

bridget1964 11-26-2010 07:42 PM

Forest preservation works in Mexican butterfly reserve, but Monarchs face host of threats
 
Forest preservation works in Mexican butterfly reserve, but Monarchs face host of threats - latimes.com

Quote:


While experts aren't really sure what has been battering the butterflies, changing weather patterns are clearly taking a toll.

Last year, clusters of butterflies covered a total area equal to only about 4.7 acres (1.9 hectares), compared to almost 20 acres (8 hectares) in the 2008-2009 winter season. Experts say it is still too soon to estimate figures on this year's migration.

Monarch expert Lincoln Brower cites climate swings of wet and dry weather, storms that damaged the reserve, and the crowding out of the only plant the Monarchs lay their eggs on, the milkweed, by genetically modified crops.

ButterflyLinda 12-01-2010 10:30 AM

Well, the number of Monarchs that returned to the U.S. earlier this year was extremely low mainly because of the cold winter down there in Mexico. I only got to raise 6 Monarch caterpillars this year...this fall. Very few Monarchs. Hope things will be better for them this winter and the population recovers. Plant milkweed!

NEWisc 12-08-2010 11:00 PM

It will be very interesting to see what this winter's population is. From the reports that I've seen from this summer I'm hoping that there is a significant increase from last year's population.

Planting more milkweeds will certainly help! It's one way that we can all contribute to the Monarch's well being.

bridget1964 12-09-2010 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NEWisc (Post 83694)
It will be very interesting to see what this winter's population is. From the reports that I've seen from this summer I'm hoping that there is a significant increase from last year's population.

Planting more milkweeds will certainly help! It's one way that we can all contribute to the Monarch's well being.

We had such a large number of monarchs migrating through the southern NJ area that I am very hopeful the numbers will be up this year. We can hope that Michoacan does not receive the torrential rains they received last Feb/March.

PLEASE PLANT MORE MILKWEED! PLEASE PLANT MORE MILKWEED! Should I say it again? Please plant...

I tell everybody I know to plant it. It is the only thing that is going to help the monarchs on this end of the continent.

bridget1964 12-09-2010 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ButterflyLinda (Post 83179)
Well, the number of Monarchs that returned to the U.S. earlier this year was extremely low mainly because of the cold winter down there in Mexico. I only got to raise 6 Monarch caterpillars this year...this fall. Very few Monarchs. Hope things will be better for them this winter and the population recovers. Plant milkweed!

Linda,
I can't believe you only had 6! That is very disheartening! I raised about 400 this year, the highest number I ever had! We had hundreds of thousands migrating through here the last two weeks of September and many more continued throughout the month of October. I guess only time will tell. If I get any information on numbers, I will post them here.

ButterflyLinda 12-11-2010 11:41 PM

Numbers of Monarchs were also reportedly very low in some other areas of the U.S. this past year. On the other hand, some other kinds of butterflies were all over the place this year. The American Lady caterpillars are STILL out on the host plants here...freezing weather doesn't seem to bother them!

jpdenk 12-12-2010 10:15 AM

It's good to help them here by growing Milkweeds of various species, but the real problem is in Mexico.

My understanding is that the problem in Mexico is that the forested areas where the Monarchs winter are becoming very fragmented, and that allows cold air to penetrate into the smaller isolated wooded areas more easily than back before when the area was essentially one, large wooded area. That needs to be addressed or else a particularly bad cold snap in their wintering grounds could conceivably wipe out all the migratory Monarchs.

John

bridget1964 12-12-2010 11:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ButterflyLinda (Post 84014)
Numbers of Monarchs were also reportedly very low in some other areas of the U.S. this past year. On the other hand, some other kinds of butterflies were all over the place this year. The American Lady caterpillars are STILL out on the host plants here...freezing weather doesn't seem to bother them!

Yeah, someone else told me they didn't see a single monarch, I think it was Havalotta. I guess here on the east coast we were lucky.

We also had a banner year for all kinds of butterflies. Lots of buckeyes, red admirals, both ladies and many others. I saw tiger and black swallowtails from April-October! Very unusual!

bridget1964 12-12-2010 11:37 AM

how can we help?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jpdenk (Post 84021)
It's good to help them here by growing Milkweeds of various species, but the real problem is in Mexico.

My understanding is that the problem in Mexico is that the forested areas where the Monarchs winter are becoming very fragmented, and that allows cold air to penetrate into the smaller isolated wooded areas more easily than back before when the area was essentially one, large wooded area. That needs to be addressed or else a particularly bad cold snap in their wintering grounds could conceivably wipe out all the migratory Monarchs.

John

John,
Yes, things in Mexico have gotten worse in recent years. I was in Michoacan in 2009 and saw the deforestation around the monarch colonies. Many of the people there still want to protect the monarch sites.

One very real problem is that the Purepecha people are so very poor that the oyamel fir trees are more important to them as firewood than as a place for the monarchs to rest. Most people there still use firewood to heat their homes and to cook their food.

Several of the monarch colonies have the federal police patrolling to stop the lumber poachers, but it is a difficult task. We saw them in the forests in Chincua. There are locals who are involved in reforesting projects (we saw nurseries in El Rosario and Sierra Chincua) but it is not enough.

Also, the drug war has taken over the country as you can read in the news. I fear for the monarch colonies and am very worried that the migration as we know it will become extinct.

So, is planting milkweed up here going to solve the problem? No, it is not. But I do know that all my neighbors with their nonnative plants and poison ladened lawns don't help the monarchs.

ButterflyLinda 12-12-2010 05:41 PM

I would think the drug cartels would be a big danger. Eco tourism helps in some ways and if people are afraid to go down there, economic problems will only get worse for the local people of that region. And I wonder...couldn't people interested in saving the Monarchs contribute money to help get other kinds of fuel brought to the area?


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