FW: Mexico expands monarch butterfly habitat

Paul Cherubini cherubini at mindspring.com
Fri Nov 10 17:30:36 EST 2000

> Mexico expands monarch butterfly habitat
> On Thursday the government announced it was increasing the size of the
> protected area to 216 square miles (= 138,240 acres = 56,000 hectares) from
> 62 square miles (=39,680 acres =16,000 hectares), and expanding
> the so-called core zone where cutting trees is banned. In buffer zones,
> regulated tree-cutting is permitted.

> The new protections will link a string of nature reserves to create
> a continuous corridor in the butterfly's winter nesting grounds. It
> will add a 100,000-acre buffer zone around the current monarch
> reserve, which has been degraded over the past few decades by
> illegal logging. 

What's really happening in Mexico is that American monarch scientists
have arbitrarily designated 216 square miles (=138,240 acres = 
56,000 hectares) of forest as essential monarch overwintering habitat. 
They have no scientific evidence to back this claim up. For example, 
at any given time during the winter the monarchs occupy a total of less 
than 50 acres (20 hectares) of forest in Mexico.

As an analogy consider the Monterey Pine forest in Cambria, California
which is several hundred acres in size. Only one or two monarch 
overwintering colonies, each a fraction of one acre in size, are located
within this vast forest. It would be ridiculous if (hypothetically) 
Mexican scientists came to Cambria and arbitrarily designated the
entire pine forest in Cambria as essential monarch habitat.

Why would it be ridiculous? Because at Pismo State Beach,
just a short distance away from Cambria , the same number of monarchs 
can be found overwintering in a comparatively tiny 5 acre isolated clump of
eucalyptus trees. Also, up at Pacific Grove, California, hundreds of acres
of Monterey Pine forest were logged off many years ago leaving just
a few small fragments of forest. Yet in one of these tiny 3 acre clumps
is one of the largest and most stable monarch overwintering colonies
in northern California.  Therefore in situations where monarch colonies
are located within immense tracts of forest, only a minuscule portion
of that forest is essential butterfly habitat - the rest is not habitat and
could be logged off without harm (from a butterfly conservation

Paul Cherubini, Placerville, California


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