Community Conservation in Mexico
Each country in North America contains some combination of habitats in which monarchs breed, migrate and overwinter, and at each of these stages they require different resources. Communities in each of these countries can contribute to the conservation of monarch butterflies and their spectacular migration. Any weak link in the chain of habitats threatens the integrity of the entire migratory phenomenon. And, just as these habitats differ, the socioeconomic and cultural characteristics of the places vary too.
In June 2008, Canada, Mexico and the United States joined forces to protect and conserve the monarch butterfly, which has become a symbol of North America’s shared environment. A North American Monarch Conservation Plan was announced by the environment ministers of the three countries and outlines actions to be taken in each country.
The plan outlines a long-term collaborative agenda with nearly 60 specific actions that seek to:
- decrease or eliminate deforestation in the overwintering habitat in south-central Mexico and California;
- address threats of habitat loss and degradation along the monarch’s migratory routes;
- address threats of loss, fragmentation and modification of breeding habitat;
- develop innovative ways to promote sustainable livelihoods for people in and around key monarch habitats; and
- monitor monarch populations across North America.
One Mexican organization that is working to protect monarchs is Alternare, a non-profit organization that works in close partnership with campesinos in the monarch wintering areas to promote sustainable and adequate food production, forest conservation, and environmentally sound economic activities.
Alternare has helped improve the conditions for location families by:
- Manufacturing and using adobe brick as a substitute material for building and this method results in better insulated houses.
- Showing how water and soil retention can be achieved by reforestation and by building irrigation ditches
- Alleviating the environmental stress in the forests by reducing the use of wood, building adobe stoves, participating in reforestation, and recycling.
This information was summarized from the North American Monarch Conservation Plan:
During the webcast and broadcast on Thursday, February 19, 2009, from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Time, learn about:
- the ejido system of land management in Mexico in which the local community owns the land
- the concept of sustainability, which means that resources are used in a way to meet current as well as future needs
- Alternare's conservation and stewardship activities, such as raising organic food, conserving soil and water, making adobe bricks, and training local farmers
- how the local people are raising oyamel trees and preserving the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
Here's how you can participate:
- Watch the webcast and broadcast on Thursday, February 19 from noon – 1 p.m. Eastern Time. The webcast will also be archived for later viewing if you can’t watch it live.
- Check out the lesson plans.
- Watch the short video segments.
- Take a Google Earth tour.
For more information about conservation activities in Mexico, visit the following web pages:
Meet the children and families who share their mountain homes with the monarchs every winter!
Find out about conservation issues and how you can help.