Recognizing that sound science is key to effective conservation, we support scientific research, including habitat and species assessments, with direct relevance to conservation in the overwintering sites. Our research funding supports scientists studying ecology and the conservation of monarchs in Mexico.
Assisted Migration (2021-2022)
To improve the survival of the oyamel (Abies religiosa) in future reforestations, Dr. Cuauhtémoc Saénz-Romero, his colleague and students conducted experiments on the propagation of Coyote brush (Baccharis conferta) and Snakeroot (Ageratina glabrata) nurse plants in nurseries. Using shrubs as nurse plants, provides protection to young oyamel seedlings from excessive heat and extreme temperatures.
In July 2021, an experimental reforestation was carried out planting these two species of shrubs at 3400 m altitude at Cerro Prieto Ejido in Sierra Chincua to try to cover a site that was highly disturbed by the winter storm of March 2016 with shrubs. Once established, the shrub cover will serve as a nurse plants for subsequent reforestation with oyamel in the future. Survival after 8 months of planting was 78% in Baccharis conferta and 65% for Ageratina glabrata. These results are considered encouraging, especially considering that these shrubs had never been planted in nurseries before or used for reforestation since traditionally they have been considered marginal. A video of the process is shown below.
The Monarch Butterfly Fund has supported this important research for several years and many papers have been published in scientific journals. The following links give access to some of the most relevant ones: https://tinyurl.com/snv8926z, https://tinyurl.com/2p8ejx84, https://tinyurl.com/5ae9avcx, https://tinyurl.com/45fme9su, https://tinyurl.com/5n6vjubv.