Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Monarch buttefly deforestation

Anyone who knows me, knows how important the monarch butterflies have been in my life. My family started raising monarchs together as a family project six or seven years ago, and every summer we search for monarch eggs, nurture them through all the stages, and release the butterflies. These little creatures are a miracle, and we never get tired of watching them make their amazing transformations. Several years ago we started planting milkweed to encourage the monarchs to come around our house. My husband was inspired by our experiences with monarchs to write a book, The Dark Dreamweaver, which includes a monarch wizard. If it weren't for the monarchs, I probably wouldn't be here, blogging about children's books.

One amazing thing about the monarchs is their annual migration. Every year in the Fall, they migrate to Mexico, where they spend the winter. In the Spring they migrate northwards again. There are several generations between the northbound butterflies in the Spring and the southbound ones in the Fall, yet somehow those southbound butterflies know where to go, and they go to the same places year after year. Unfortunately, those places are under attack by loggers. Now, a new satellite image recently published shows that in spite of Mexico's creation of protected zones, illegal logging continues to devastate the monarch buttefly overwintering grounds.

Click here to view a pair of satellite images of Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in central Mexico. The first image was taken in 2004, and the second one was taken on February 23, 2008. The image clearly shows large areas that have been clear cut inside the protected zone, where logging has been illegal by presidental decree since 2000.

If this deforestation continues, the monarch migration could be disrupted. If that happens, this beautiful and inspiring creature could disappear from the earth.

Butterfly image © copyright 2005 Sheila Ruth; all rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

Awww, illegal logging is aweful! I hope the butterflies survive! :(

Unknown said...

You're right, Forestpelt, it is awful. I hope that the Mexican government can find a way to stop it.