Interesting ...

Patrick Foley patfoley at
Wed Apr 17 09:58:44 EDT 2002


You seem to have ignored everything every one else has written on this list.
Eucalyptus groves create fire hazards and displace native plants and their
animals. Monarchs are not the only organism in the world. When you cut down
native vegetation you affect everything. Some forest cutting can mimic natural
processes (such as fire or windthrows) and has relatively little effect on the
landscape of communities. Other cuttings are very disruptive to thousands of
species, not just Monarchs.

If you actually go the Sierra Nevada Occidental or to the hillls of Chiapas, you
realize how badly tree cutting has damaged the livelihood of the people of the
area, since people have from time immemorial foraged for many food, fuel and
spiritual resources in the forests.

Conservationists are not the enemy of people, they are the enemy of stupid greed.

Patrick Foley
patfoley at

Paul Cherubini wrote:

> Ron wrote:
> > My Milkweed/Monarch question is different.  I have  wondered if
> > there is any study that estimates the range and density of
> > various Milkweeds before the advent of Europeans on this continent.
> Ron, there are several biological issues all monarch experts agree on:
> 1. 92% of the overwintering monarchs in Mexico fed on Asclepias
>     syriaca as larvae.
> 2. Asclepias syriaca grows only in the central and northern USA
>     and southern Canada.
> 3. Asclepias syriaca is abundant on disturbed ground,  but
>     is absent in undisturbed prairie soil.  Therefore Asclepias syriaca
>     is thought to have been a comparatively rare plant 400 years ago.
> 4. Deforestation of the Great Lakes region and New England
>     by the Europeans the past 200 years (to grow crops) has greatly
>     increased the abundance of Asclepias syriaca.
> Prior to the arrival of Europeans, certain milkweed species that
> are rare today were probably alot more abundant because they
> grow well on undisturbed ground.
> The bottom line is that 400 years ago Asclepias syriaca could not
> have been the milkweed species that supported 92% of the migratory
> monarchs like it does today. From a conservation standpoint, this
> history demonstrates how monarchs can do well even after humans
> have radically altered their SUMMER breeding habitats.
> In the western USA the amount of milkweed available to monarchs
> dramatically increased after the arrival of European man. Humans
> irrigated and cultivated the river valleys of the near milkweedless Great
> Basin desert which made it possible for disturbed ground milkweeds like
> Asclepias speciosa to thrive and spread.
> On the California coast, the europeans planted groves of Australian
> eucalyptus trees on the formerly treeless coastal grassland prairies.
> Monarchs largely abandoned the native conifers, willows and sycamores
> they had been using and moved into the eucalyptus.
> From a conservation standpoint,
> this history demonstrates how monarchs can do well even after humans
> have radically alter their WINTER breeding habitats.
> Now despite all this evidence that both the summer breeding
> and overwintering habitats of monarchs can be radially altered
> without causing a problem for the butterflies, the American monarch
> scientific establishment refuses to be intellectually open to the
> possibliity that the same could be true of the overwintering habitats
> in Mexico.  Instead, they went in and told the 60,000 local
> indigenous people that selective logging in vast tracts of their
> forests like this one
> can no longer be allowed, even though such limited logging has been
> practiced for centuries without harm to the butterflies.
> But there is alot of evidence that demonstrates monarchs will exploit
> openings in the Mexican forests to their advantage just like they
> exploit other kinds of human landscape disturbances.  Like this past
> January after the big freeze the Chincua colony moved out of
> the dense forest where 30% got killed and into this forest clearing to
> get some sun
> The Mexicans cut this clearing decades ago to mark a property line
> division.  They also cut a few such clearings to create fire breaks. Nowadays
> this kind of logging would not be allowed even though the monarchs
> obviously enjoy visiting the clearings to get some sun and warmth.
> Another kind of landscape disturbance the American scientists object
> to is farming the slopes below the monarch colonies. For example, last
> year in the News of the Leps Society Kurt Johnson & Robert de Candito
> had this to say:
> The casual reader
> might think this farming has devasted the monarch overwintering area.
> But to the contrary, monarchs come down by the millions to these very
> same farm fields and find an abundance of drinking water and flower
> nectar.
> In other words, logging in the forests below the monarch overwintering
> sites inadvertently creates water and flower nectar resources for
> the butterflies.  Apparently some kind of cultural conditioning issue
> prevents American scientists & conservationists from being happy
> about this win - win situation for both the local indigenous people
> and the monarch butterflies. Possibly the same cultural reason they are
> not happy to see California monarchs overwintering well in Australian
> eucalyptus trees.
> Paul Cherubini
> Placerville, Calif.
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