MONARCHS- In Mexico

Monarchs In MexicoHere’s a program from our archives. This month, millions of Monarch butterflies will migrate north from the small patches of Mexican forest where they’ve spent the winter, clinging to the branches of fir trees. These winter sites are crucial to the Monarchs’ life cycle– and yet the threat of logging in these areas has some scientists fearing for the Monarchs’ survival. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Brower: All the sites which we know of are West of Mexico City and it’s really something to see the butterflies concentrated in these sites. We’re talking about ten million butterflies per hectare and a hectare is about two and a half acres. And so the over wintering forests down there where Monarchs go are the Achilles’ heel of the Monarch butterfly. Lincoln Brower is a Research Professor at Sweet Briar College. He tells us that the forests west of Mexico City provide just the right kind of shelter to help maintain the Monarchs’ body temperatures.Brower: The problem with the thinning of the forest is that the monarchs have to have an intact umbrella of trees to prevent them from getting wet during winter storms and also to prevent radiant heat loss. And one of the big problems in Mexico is illegal logging and also legal logging which is getting too close to this forest. And you can consider the whole ecosystem, this fir forest ecosystem, is severely threatened. There’s no money appropriated for adequate protection of these forests and so people are constantly going in and cutting trees out. In my judgment, the whole Monarch migration phenomenon is going to collapse in the next decade.Conservationists hope that reforestation to promote logging in other regions of Mexico may help save the forest where the Monarchs spend their winter.We’ve been listening to a program from our archives. If you want to hear more, check out our podcast. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

MONARCHS- In Mexico

The threat of logging looms over the wintering sites of Monarch butterflies.
Air Date:03/16/1999
Scientist:
Transcript:

Monarchs In MexicoHere's a program from our archives. This month, millions of Monarch butterflies will migrate north from the small patches of Mexican forest where they've spent the winter, clinging to the branches of fir trees. These winter sites are crucial to the Monarchs' life cycle-- and yet the threat of logging in these areas has some scientists fearing for the Monarchs' survival. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Brower: All the sites which we know of are West of Mexico City and it's really something to see the butterflies concentrated in these sites. We're talking about ten million butterflies per hectare and a hectare is about two and a half acres. And so the over wintering forests down there where Monarchs go are the Achilles' heel of the Monarch butterfly. Lincoln Brower is a Research Professor at Sweet Briar College. He tells us that the forests west of Mexico City provide just the right kind of shelter to help maintain the Monarchs' body temperatures.Brower: The problem with the thinning of the forest is that the monarchs have to have an intact umbrella of trees to prevent them from getting wet during winter storms and also to prevent radiant heat loss. And one of the big problems in Mexico is illegal logging and also legal logging which is getting too close to this forest. And you can consider the whole ecosystem, this fir forest ecosystem, is severely threatened. There's no money appropriated for adequate protection of these forests and so people are constantly going in and cutting trees out. In my judgment, the whole Monarch migration phenomenon is going to collapse in the next decade.Conservationists hope that reforestation to promote logging in other regions of Mexico may help save the forest where the Monarchs spend their winter.We've been listening to a program from our archives. If you want to hear more, check out our podcast. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.