Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I received a Monarch Population Update from Jim Lovett of MONARCH-WATCH. He pretty well summed up the status of the Monarch butterfly population trend. And, it demonstrates another reason why creating wildlife-friendly spaces in America's 25,000,000 household yards is a good idea!

According to Lovett, the overwintering population in Mexico increased each year from 1994 to 1996, only to crash inexplicably in 1997. He states the ups and downs in overwintering numbers - but the population trend has been mostly "downs" since 2003. In fact, the population has been below the long-term average for the last seven years. The downward trend is now statistically significant (Brower, et al. 2011) and it is clear that we have entered a new era of monarch numbers.

Lovett states, "The great migrations of the 90s are a thing of the past. In the future, we can expect overwintering populations in Mexico of 2-6 hectares. The main reason for the decline is loss of habitat. Monarch habitat has been reduced by at least 140 million acres in the last 10 years - about a fifth of the total breeding area available to monarchs has been lost. At least 100 million acres of habitat has been lost due to the adoption of herbicide resistant corn and soybeans."

This is why I firmly believe in creating wildlife-friendly spaces in America's 25,000,000 yards, not only for human enjoyment, but for the survival of the Monarch butterfly and hundreds of other species of insects, birds, butterflies, amphibians, mammals, etc. Just if a mere 1% of America's lawn owners decided to plant milkweed plants and create a beautiful buttefly garden in their yard, and produced 80 Monarch adult butterflies (like I did)...that would create 20,000,000 Monarch butterflies each year!

Lovett predicts a low year for monarchs, perhaps not as low as 2009 (1.92 hectares) or 2004 (2.19 hectares) but close to those numbers. He said the migration in New England will be particularly low and Cape May's will be low as well. The central region (Ontario, MI, OH, IN, IL) will see a modest migration and could produce more monarchs than the area defined by the eastern Dakotas, MN, WI, and IA.

See also:
Monarch Butterfly Population: In decline or holding its own? Take the Poll
Monarch Population Overwintering in Mexico Remains Low
Monarch Butterflies Cross Over Appalachians From West To Colonize East Coast

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S believes urban sprawl can be offset by creating wildlife-friendly spaces in America's 25,000,000 lawns, one yard at a time! Click HERE to learn why. A portion of Ad sale revenues will be donated to Monarch Watch. Do you have a wildlife-friendly space? Please share it! Contact us on the secure Bpath Mail Form.