M7W – Monarch Butterfly Reserve

Number 9 of my 16 candidates for Mexico’s Seven Wonders is the Monarch Butterfly Reserve.

From Learner.org: Each fall, monarch butterflies east of the Rocky Mountains migrate to high-altitude oyamel fir forests in central Mexico, where they overwinter in extraordinary aggregations of millions of individuals. Habitat degradation in these overwintering sites has led to the formal designation of “threatened phenomenon” to the monarch butterfly migration, and a first priority in world butterfly conservation. Many studies have demonstrated that an intact oyamel forest ecosytem is key to the monarchs’ winter survival. The forest provides unique microclimatic conditions which promote monarch survival in freezing temperatures, slow dessication (drying out), and conserve energy stores until the spring remigration. This forest ecosystem is the most endangered in Mexico, constituting less than 2% of Mexican forests. However, wood harvesting continues and many people are reluctant to control the access of the very poor landowners to their forests, even though current and projected demands on the forest cannot possibly be sustained. A 1986 presidential decree created the “Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca,” the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. This decree provided two zones of protection in five of the known monarch overwintering areas. The two zones of protection are: 1. The nuclear zone, in which no cutting is allowed, and 2. The buffer zone, in which limited cutting is allowed.



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