Monarch butterflies are among the important pollinators whose populations are threatened. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the species’ population has fallen 85% in just two decades. This is due to factors including pesticides, climate change, and deforestation. With your help, though, we’ve been able to protect some of their wintering habitat, in an effort to fight back against this population decline.
Greater Good Charities recently teamed up with Forests for Monarchs, a program from La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, to help address monarch decline stemming from habitat loss in central Mexico.
The organization says, “Those directly affected by the deforestation of this land are both the monarch butterfly and the communities in this region. The monarchs face an uphill battle between pesticide used and commercial farming in the U.S., combined with habitat loss in Mexico, it means that every bit of old growth forest left is necessary to keep the monarch from extinction. The people of these communities are also affected by deforestation as their soil degrades, their clean water sources dry up and their land becomes too arid to farm.”
The Forests for Monarchs project provides tree seedlings to landowners and communities neighboring the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve – a wintering location for millions of monarchs – and in the Highland Lakes Area in Michoacán, Mexico. The goal is to help protect the monarch’s wintering habitat by providing other trees to surrounding communities, which will also help improve soil quality, restore dried up streams, and create a sustainable livelihood through good forest stewardship.
Thanks in part to your contributions, we recently helped this project plant more than 4,000 trees in Mexico. These trees, which included smooth-bark Mexican pine and Gregg’s pine trees, were planted in two areas that had been heavily impacted by livestock, other agricultural production, and poor forest management. Sustainable forest training and maintenance support for the new trees are also provided to ensure that the area thrives.
An additional grant from GreaterGood allowed for similar work, with 26,000 more trees planted around the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve area. Forests for Monarchs says this helped them reach an important milestone: 1.3 million trees planted in a season.
The program said, “Because of your generosity and people like you, we are planting 1.3 million trees this season! These trees help remove pressure from the forests around the monarch winter habitat and the watersheds. When we reforest cleared land, soil conditions improve, clean water returns to streams and rivers, and communities and landowners create a sustainable economic resource.
“Aiding the long-term survival of the monarch butterfly remains our priority. The eastern monarch, those that migrate to Mexico, saw a 35% increase in population size during the 2022 count. This increase has us cautiously optimistic. It’s a sign that conservation efforts work. The causes of the decline of the eastern monarch are the continued mass use of pesticides, the climate crisis, the clearcutting of the winter habitat, and migration problems. The plight of the monarch continues.”
If you’d like to help plant more trees for species in need, click below to learn how!