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Storms Decimate Monarch Butterflies' Mexico Habitat

Deutsche Welle
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August 31, 2016
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Extreme weather threatens Mexico's monarchs (Reuters)

Extreme weather earlier this year decimated large swaths of sensitive forest habitat where monarch butterflies winter in Mexico, according to a recent study.

Storms in March destroyed 54 hectares (135 acres) of the core of Mexico's Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, located at the border of the states of Mexico and Michoacan. That's more than four times more habitat destruction than illegal logging, which declined 40 percent this year.

It was the worst weather damage since 2009-10 when storms destroyed more than 100 hectares of forest.

While the loss constitutes a small percentage of the of the 13,551-hectare (34,000-acre) area of the reserve's core, scientists said the second major weather event in five years is troubling.

"It's worrying because this may indicate that the weather will continue to become more extreme," said Omar Vidal, director-general of the Mexican arm of the World Wildlife Fund, which issued the study alongside Mexico's National Autonomous University, the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas and others.

 "It's a large amount of trees, it's a large amount of forest, so essentially we're losing habitat for the monarch in this sanctuary," he added. "We need to restore areas that have been deforested, either by illegal logging or violent winds, so that the monarch continues visiting these areas in the long run."

The storms combined high winds, rain and freezing temperatures, causing millions of butterflies to die.

Read the rest at Deutsche Welle

Related: The World Got Together to Try to Save the Monarch Butterfly, and Then Climate Change Ruined the Plan (Quartz)

Related: Illegal Logging in Mexico Monarch Butterfly Reserve Falls 40% (EFE)

Related: Police Deployed in Mexico to Protect Monarch Butterfly Reserve (Xinhua)

Related: Tell EPA: Save Monarchs from Dow's Chemical Assault! (Natural Resources Defense Council)

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