On November 22, 2019, the tourist season opened at the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary in Angangueo, Michoacán. As part of this event, Silvano Aureoles, Governor of the State of Michoacán, Hilda Dominguez, Municipal President of Angangueo and Carmelo Martínez, Ejido Leader, unveiled a plaque that remembers Lincoln for “his passion for monarchs, nature, science and conservation”, and commemorates the fact that it was in this sanctuary where Lincoln first saw a butterfly colony and called it “Site Alpha”. MBF Board member, Isabel Ramírez, read a beautiful thank you message from Lincoln’s wife, Linda Fink and gave a brief overview of Lincoln’s work and the role he played in the conservation of this site.
This tribute was made on the initiative of Ejido Cerro Prieto’s ejido leader, with support from Monarch Butterfly Fund, the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, the Monarch Fund and the UNAM Environmental Geography Research Center (CIGA). The memorial is symbolized by a large butterfly made of quarry stone designed by architect Vladimir Argueta-Márquez from Zitácuaro, Michoacán and carved by Maestro Agustín García-Alvarado from Tlalpujahua, Michoacán.
In 2019, MBF funded the update and publication of the “Monarch Cartographic Series: Vegetation and Land Cover 2018” and it is now online on UNAM’s Center for Research in Environmental Geography (CIGA)’s website. Developed by board member Isabel Ramírez, and her collaborators Jairo G. López-Sánchez and Sara Barrasa, this update is the second part of the Monarch Cartographic Series of which Volume 1 was published a decade ago and both are part of a long-term monitoring project of land cover in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR) and its surrounding areas. The monitoring will allow us to identify the magnitude and location of changes in land use.
MBF board member Dr. Isabel Ramírez and other authors recently published a paper in a forestry journal form the University of Chapingo. Titled ”Community participation for carbon measurement in forests of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Mexico”, the article describes how participatory mapping workshops were held in four communities to share tree carbon mapping and measurement techniques generating data that can help communities manage their forests and resources more effectively. To read the full article click on the title of the article or here.
Local communities have been busy this summer planting trees! So far, we have planted 22,000 trees on 20 hectares with the participation of more than 650 children, women and men from the local communities. Summer vacations did not deter the kids who were very excited and unanimously confirmed that they didn’t mind spending their vacations planting trees. Especially since most of the seedlings came from the school tree nurseries that they created.
Children are enjoying their summer vacation, but that didn‘t stop them from participating in our reforestation. This year rains were delayed and so did our reforestation that began in July when the soil was ready to plant trees. With 280 people from the local communities so far, we have planted 5,400 trees on 5 hectares. Approximately 200 children joined the adults and participated in the reforestation!
|Kids from Nicolas Romero Indigenous Community planting trees|
MBF Board members Dr. Karen Oberhauser, Dr. Alfonso Alonso, and Dr. Ernest Williams, were among the authors that wrote a wonderful tribute to Dr. Brower titled “Lincoln Brower, Champion for Monarchs” recently published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. The article describes Lincoln’s trajectory and how it led him to work for the conservation of the monarch butterflies, took him to Mexico and how he established collaborations and mentored others to become not only a champion for monarchs but for nature as well!
The Los Angles Times published the article “To save the monarch butterfly, Mexican scientists are moving a forest 1,000 feet up the mountain“. The article shares the lovely story of Francisco Ramirez Cruz, a campesino from ejido La Mesa and his involvement with Dr. Cuauhtémoc Saénz who is also interviewed discussing his assisted migration experiments. MBF is proud to support these experiments!
Titled “La pobreza que mata a la mariposa monarca”- “Poverty that Kills the Monarch Butterfly”, Newsweek’s article begins by briefly describing the history of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and the social and economic challenges that its creation prompted. However, it continues with an encouraging viewpoint on how local inhabitants have faced the challenges with support from civil organizations such as Alternare. Lucino Gutiérrez and Don Guadalupe Garduño, campesinos from the Francisco Serrato and the Carpinteros indigenous communities, respectively, describe how they are using agroecological techniques to develop productive projects in their communities. All of it aiming towards achieving comprehensive sustainable development as Guadalupe del Rio, Alternare’s president and Karen Vega, from her team discuss. MBF is proud to support Altenare in their projects and foster forest conservation along with the well-being of the people that share the Reserve with the monarchs!
Experts from the WWF Mexico-Telmex-Telcel partnership in collaboration with the Natural Protected Areas Commission (CONANP) and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR), have published a press release reporting a 114% increase of the surface covered by monarch butterfly colonies in the 2018-2019 overwintering period. They reported a total area of 6.05 hectares (14.95 acres) occupied by 14 butterfly colonies which compared to the 2.48 hectares (6.13 acres) reported last year is much higher. The graph above shows the population counts since 1994.
This is certainly encouraging news but it doesn’t mean our work is over. Insect populations fluctuate and monarch populations have been on a downward trend so we can’t let down our guard. MBF will continue working towards the conservation of the monarch butterfly’s migratory phenomenon and the protection of their breeding and overwintering habitats.