Sunday, September 4, 2016

Monarch Butterflies: Loss of Overwintering Habitat

Environmental and Science Education
Edward Hessler

Data released August 23 2016 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) shows that key Central Mexico forests where monarch butterflies overwinter was subject to the largest loss of trees (ogamel fir trees) since the winter of 2009-2010.

More than 70 hectares (ha), approximately 172 acres, of the overwintering forested area were destroyed during a period of violent weather in March 2016.

Monarch butterflies overwintering. Photo from Wikipedia.
According to the report, it is expected that these kinds of weather events--extreme because until now such events have been uncommon, will become standard in the future.  The cause?  Global climate change.

Before this event, the monarch butterfly population had grown according to a survey conducted December 2015.

On the other hand illegal logging declined by 40% due to enforcement and financial support by the Monarch Fund, WWF, Mexican and international philanthropists, and businesses.

The WWF report, illustrated with graphs and maps, may be read here. In addition, an article on the WWF website provides additional details.

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