Western Monarchs are doing better this summer

Paul Cherubini monarch at saber.net
Mon Aug 5 11:54:10 EDT 2002

Last winter monarch overwintering populations along the California
coast were way below normal.  By mid June, however,
monarchs were a common sight at milkweed patches
around the western USA.  How the monarchs recover so
rapidly is not well understood.

Most of the western monarch summer breeding habitat
is man made.  For example, in the Mount Shasta area
of extreme northern California milkweed plants have 
invaded patches of forest that were that were clear cut 
several decades ago.  In this way, human activity inadvertently
creates new breeding opportunities for monarchs.  Here 
are two photos I took on July 11, 2002 of 
milkweed in the Mount Shasta area growing on clear cut 
forest land:


A couple years ago monarch biologist Dr. Karen
Oberhauser asked kind of jokingly: "Is logging
ever good for monarchs ?   Well its no joke that logging
has been good in some circumstances for western monarchs.

Paul Cherubini
Placerville, Calif.


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