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Old 07-12-2011, 06:20 PM   #1
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Default Genetically Modified Crops Imperiling Monarch Butterfly

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/sc...=1&ref=science


"Not anymore. Fields are now planted with genetically modified corn and soybeans resistant to the herbicide Roundup, allowing farmers to spray the chemical to eradicate weeds, including milkweed.

And while that sounds like good news for the farmers, a growing number of scientists fear it is imperiling the monarch butterfly, whose spectacular migrations make it one of the most beloved of insects — “the Bambi of the insect world,” as an entomologist once put it.

Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed, and their larvae eat it. While the evidence is still preliminary and disputed, experts like Chip Taylor say the growing use of genetically modified crops is threatening the orange-and-black butterfly by depriving it of habitat.

“This milkweed has disappeared from at least 100 million acres of these row crops,” said Dr. Taylor, an insect ecologist at the University of Kansas and director of the research and conservation program Monarch Watch. “Your milkweed is virtually gone.”"
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:23 PM   #2
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Default Good Reason for Focusing on Milkweed Varieties in Backyard Gardens

There has been a lot of discussion here about the scarcity of Monarchs and whether folks here plant milkweed, and which kind. This, if verified, and I believe it will be, seems to me a grand reason to plant as much of the stuff as your garden can accommodate.
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:26 PM   #3
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This...seems to me a grand reason to plant as much of the stuff as your garden can accommodate.
I'm all for adding a LOT more to our lot.
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:28 PM   #4
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...and, I am a bit concerned by the lack of butterflies this year--last year I had quite a variety. With the habitat of my yard improving each year, I'd expect to see more every year.

(I must say that I've found some caterpillars (but no monarch's), so some butterflies are obviously here.)
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:35 PM   #5
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I, too, am concerned. I have hugely more habitat, both nectar sources and larval plants than last year. I have vast numbers of bees, wasps and misc flies, but not nearly as many butterflies as last year. This makes little sense to me, and is much more worrisome if it extends to more than my little corner of the world.
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:40 PM   #6
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I, too, am concerned. I have hugely more habitat, both nectar sources and larval plants than last year. I have vast numbers of bees, wasps and misc flies, but not nearly as many butterflies as last year. This makes little sense to me, and is much more worrisome if it extends to more than my little corner of the world.
For what it's worth, I could have written what you just did.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:38 PM   #7
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I, too, am concerned. I have hugely more habitat, both nectar sources and larval plants than last year. I have vast numbers of bees, wasps and misc flies, but not nearly as many butterflies as last year. This makes little sense to me, and is much more worrisome if it extends to more than my little corner of the world.
Very well put.

I can't say that I have "vastly more habitat", but I definitely should be seeing more butterflies. From the comments here, it seems it is occurring in quite a few places.

~sigh~

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For what it's worth, I could have written what you just did.
~double sigh~
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:13 PM   #8
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Default Determining what Ascelpias is native to your region

PLANTS Profile for Asclepias (milkweed) | USDA PLANTS

This page is a handy guide for those who are purists on what they allow in their garden. Toward the bottom of the page, each type is listed with an accompanying map of its native range.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:24 PM   #9
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Thanks, jack.

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This page is a handy guide for those who are purists on what they allow in their garden.
Somehow, that seems politely geared toward me.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:03 PM   #10
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Thanks, jack. Somehow, that seems politely geared toward me.

No, though I think it's relevant to your position on what you plant, it was meant for anyone interested in assisting the plight of the beleaguered Monarch.

In BRINGING NATURE HOME Tallamy prefaces his treatise on the rock of reality that it is now the individual land owner who needs to take the reigns of environmental consciousness. Who's to say if a particularly strict approach to plant choice is more or less beneficial, so long as bare ground or the same old aliens that have been there for years are not the result, waiting for action that never comes or arrives so slowly that an opportunity to make a timely beneficial impact is lost?

One point is easy to assert here, and that is that any bona fide wildlife gardener SHOULD have at least one variety of milkweed on the property. Would you agree??
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