Mexican deforestation - Monarch butterfly

Tiser, Gene M TiserG at
Thu Sep 14 16:17:26 EDT 2000

I have read Mr. Paul Cherubini's commentaries with interest.  I was
wondering if he would care to give us his background so as to allow us the
opportunity to understand who he is, where his expertise lies, and which
company, agency or university he represents?

> ----------
> From: 	Paul Cherubini[SMTP:cherubini at]
> Reply To: 	cherubini at
> Sent: 	Wednesday, September 13, 2000 9:46 PM
> To: 	leps-l at
> Subject: 	Re: Mexican deforestation - Monarch butterfy
> Jeffrey A. Caldwell wrote:
> > 
> > Test: Ottawa Citizen online article:-
> > 
> >
> l
> > some tourists wore paper masks against dust rising from deforested land.
> Since winter is the dry season in the highlands of southern Mexico, foot 
> traffic on trails does kick up a little dust. Also, because of dryer than
> normal
> weather, more dust has been blown off dormant cornfields in late winter
> than
> would normally be the case. A temporary cosmetic issue.
> >A new study of aerial photographs taken over the last 29 years shows
> damage or
> >destruction of 44 per cent of the fir forest that serves as wintering
> grounds for the
> >Monarch butterfly.
> "Damage" is not defined nor is "intact forest" defined. These forests have
> been 
> selectively logged for centuries."Destruction" is largely limited to areas
> below 
> the altitude where the butterflies cluster.  "Destruction" = agricultural
> clearings. 
> What isn't mentioned is that these clearings provide nearby water and
> nectar
> sources which are exploited by thousands of the butterflies. If the
> forests were
> actually being cleared at the altitude where the butterflies overwinter
> there would 
> be a need for reforestation projects. To date there have been no such
> projects 
> within the butterfly sanctuaries because there has been no deforestation. 
> > He [Brower] also reports when dusty, dry winds blow through thinning
> forests,
> > the  butterflies are more likely to fly down to nearby lowlands streams
> to drink 
> > thus wasting precious energy needed for the trip back. 
> Forest density at the altitude where the butterflies overwinter has not
> been changing.
> And the butterflies cluster within a very wide range of densities.
> The alledged "thinning" occurs at lower altitudes which is not butterfly
> habitat.
> Dr. Chip Taylor of the Monarch Watch has reported good numbers of monarchs
> reaching the northern latitudes of the USA in spring for the last two
> years in a row.
> In other words, there is no hint the butterflies are suffering from any
> kind of
> physiological stress, dying prematurely, etc.
> > Brower said in 50 years there could be "basically nothing left." 
> Again the crucial piece of information that is not being disclosed is that
> the forest
> is not dissappearing at the altitude and SW facing slope exposure where
> the butterfles
> overwinter. Crops cannot grow well at that altitude, hence there is little
> pressure to clear the forest.  Another piece of crucial information not
> being disclosed
> is that the butterfly clusters require only 20 acres of forest space -
> mere pinpoints
> within the thousands of acres of available forest. Not exactly a dire
> habitat
> encroachment situation. 
> Paul Cherubini

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