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Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Saved From illegal Logging August 24, 2012
Monarch butterfly
“This has been a successful program. We want to keep expanding it.” — Mexico’s Environment Secretary Juan Elvira Quesada
Illegal logging in the forests of Mexico that are the wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly has been virtually eliminated, according to a new study.

Vast tracks of fir and pine trees crucial for monarch survival were felled in the mountains of Michoacan state during the latter half of the 20th century, with the wood mainly used for charcoal .

The colorful butterflies go through several generations as they migrate from the Michoacan sancturary to their summer homes in the northeastern United States and Canada, and back.

Some believe they return to the same tree that their ancestors left the previous spring.

To combat the illegal logging, Mexican officials have stepped up patrols through the sanctuary and pay local residents to help preserve the habitat.

Environmental groups and private donors have joined the government in spending millions of dollars to get forest communities in the butterfly reserve to plant trees and start ecotourism businesses.

This year has marked the first time that logging has not been found in detectable amounts in aerial photographs since the forest was declared a nature reserve in 2000.

Photo: Monarch Watch