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March 2005

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From:
Vermont Butterfly Survey <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Butterfly Survey <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Wed, 30 Mar 2005 13:07:45 -0500
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>
>Monarch Watch Update - March 30, 2005
>http://www.MonarchWatch.org
>[log in to unmask]
>
>==========================================
>
>Contents:
>
>1) Status of the Population
>
>2) Conservation: Monarch Waystations
>
>3) Tag Recovery
>
>4) La Cruz Habitat Protection Project
>
>5) Pacific Grove Meeting
>
>6) Images from the Monarch Sanctuaries
>
>7) Preliminary Tagging Analysis
>
>8) Notes on the Western Population
>
>9) Thank You Map Resources!
>
>10) About Our Update List
>
>==========================================
>
>Unless otherwise noted, all content was authored by Chip Taylor, edited by
>Jim Lovett and Sarah Schmidt, and published by Jim Lovett. The complete
>web version of this update is available at:
>http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0330.html
>
>==========================================
>
>1) Status of the Population
>
>Smallest overwintering population on record
>
>As most of you know, the monarch population in Mexico this past winter
>season was at an all time low (2.19 hectares). The possible reasons for
>these low numbers (e.g., losses due to the winter storms of 2004, poor
>recolonization in the spring, a cold breeding season, loss of milkweed
>habitat in the U.S. and Canada due to the adoption of glyphosate tolerant
>crops and a reduction in the quality of the overwintering habitat in
>Mexico due to illegal logging) are discussed in a report prepared by
>numerous monarch experts
>(http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0221_Sci_Adv_Rpt_11.pdf). All of
>these factors, and perhaps even others, contributed to the low numbers.
>Unfortunately, our knowledge of monarch biology and our ability to monitor
>the monarch population is not comprehensive enough to give us an
>understanding of how each of these factors contributed to the lower
>numbers. As always, there is much we need to learn. ...
>
>[ Read the full text of this article at
>http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0330.html#1 ]
>
>==========================================
>
>2) Conservation: Monarch Waystations
>
>Monarch Watch is moving in a new direction. Although we have always
>emphasized education, conservation, and research, we have, in fact, given
>less support to conservation. The extensive deforestation in the last year
>in Mexico, the rapid adoption of herbicide resistant crops in the last 5
>years that appear to have eliminated 80-100 million acres of monarch
>habitat and the incremental losses of farm and ranch land signal a
>substantial decline in the habitat available to monarchs in North America.
>The record low number of monarchs at the overwintering sites in Mexico
>this past winter is certainly, in part, a reflection of this decline. It
>is time to act - we need to protect monarch habitats in both the United
>States and Mexico. In addition, we need to create new habitats for
>monarchs and to this end we are introducing the concept of "Monarch
>Waystations". Our objective is to not only create habitats for monarchs
>but to use the concept to educate and engage the public in a conservation
>effort. It is our hope that public awareness will lead to wildlife
>friendly management of public and private lands and to legislation that
>will support monarch conservation. ...
>
>[ Read the full text of this article at
>http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0330.html#2 ]
>
>==========================================
>
>3) Tag Recovery
>
>This winter has been a tough one for us financially and we weren't able to
>take the whole crew to Mexico this year to deliver materials to schools
>and buy tags. Yet, the tag buying had to be done even if we didn't have
>all the money we needed. So, on Wednesday the 16th of March I headed to
>Mexico with Janis Lentz for the express purpose of buying tags before the
>sanctuaries shut down for the season. ... In all, we purchased over 1,500
>tags at a cost of $6,800. This amount, combined with the over $1,200 paid
>to those who purchased tags in our behalf means that we spent over $8,000
>on tags this year. Together with the $12,000 spent last year, the tagging
>operation has contributed $20,000 to the families that live on the land,
>manage the forests, and protect the butterflies. ...
>
>[ Read the full text of this article at
>http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0330.html#3 ]
>
>==========================================
>
>4) La Cruz Habitat Protection Project
>
>If you don't know about the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, you
>should. On our trip to Mexico to acquire tags, we took a side trip to
>visit Jose Luis Alvarez, the creator and director of this project. The
>world's appetite for softwood lumber for construction and paper products,
>driven in part by the rapidly growing economies in southeast Asia, is
>partly responsible for the rapid increase in illegal logging in Mexico
>during the last year (see the The Mexico-Chile-China connection in the
>June 2004 Update). Through the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project Jose
>Luis grows and distributes (at no cost to the landowner) seedlings of pine
>and oyamel fir trees. Over the last 7 years 1,150,000 trees have been
>planted on private lands in the vicinity of the monarch overwintering
>sites. The trees grow rapidly in this environment and the sequential
>harvest that accompanies the required thinning of the tree stands allows
>the landowner to earn substantially more from this use of the land than
>from more traditional crops such as corn. In theory, these mini-forests
>benefit the monarchs indirectly by providing forest products for the local
>market thus lessening the demand for mature trees in the monarch reserves.
>The problem is that the demand for tree products is increasing faster than
>the ability of Jose Luis or the government to reforest the region and the
>problem is getting worse since the government is shutting down a number of
>nurseries for seedlings due to the high cost of production. Clearly, much
>more reforestation is needed in the area and since reforestation is one of
>the potential solutions to long term conservation of monarchs, I wanted to
>have a first hand look at pine and oyamel seedling production and to talk
>to Jose Luis about the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project. The pictures
>below provide views of portions of the seedling production managed by Jose
>Luis.
>
>For more information about the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project see
>http://www.michoacanmonarchs.org/MichoacanNewsletter2003.pdf (PDF file)
>
>Images: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/LaCruz/
>
>==========================================
>
>5) Pacific Grove Meeting
>
>You should have been there! The monarch symposium held at Alisomar in
>Pacific Grove in conjunction with the Pacific Branch of the Entomological
>Society of America, was terrific! The only problem was that the meeting
>was too short and there just wasn't enough time for those of us who want
>to talk monarchs non-stop to get it out of our systems. I've prepared a
>series of photos to give you a sense of the area and its wildlife and have
>included images of most of the speakers and a few of the participants. The
>only speakers not pictured below are Nelli Thorngate of the Big Sur
>Ornithology Laboratory, Ventana Wilderness Society, Monterey, California,
>and Kingston Leong of the Biological Sciences Department, California
>Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA. Titles of the talks
>given by the speakers can be found in the February Update.
>
>Images: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/PacificGrove/
>
>[ Read the full text of this article at
>http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0330.html#5 ]
>
>==========================================
>
>6) Images from the Monarch Sanctuaries
>
>In February I was scheduled to visit the monarch sanctuaries with a group
>of entomologists. Unfortunately, a leg injury that was slow to heal
>prevented me from participating in this adventure. After their return, the
>coordinator of the group, Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy from Kansas State
>University, sent all of us an email giving us access to a digital photo
>album he prepared of the trip. Some of the monarch shots are excellent and
>"Sonny" has graciously allowed me to post a number of the images in this
>Update so that those of you who haven't visited the colonies can get a
>better sense of what it is like to be in the midst of millions of butterflies.
>
>Images: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0330_sanctuaries.html
>
>Video: http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/rosario.mov (4MB QuickTime
>Movie)
>
>==========================================
>
>7) Preliminary Tagging Analysis
>
>The following in the abstract of a presentation given at the Pacific Grove
>Meeting earlier this month.
>
>Monarch tagging in 2001 and 2003: A preliminary analysis.
>
>Orley R. Taylor, Jim Lovett, Sarah Schmidt and Tyler Schmidt
>Monarch Watch, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
>
>Funds obtained from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks allowed us
>to create a database for the monarch tagging conducted in 2001 and 2003.
>We chose to analyze the data for these years, in preference to others,
>since the winters that followed the tagging of 2001 and 2003 were
>characterized by catastrophic mortality due to winter storms, that
>resulted in the recovery of unprecedented numbers of tagged butterflies.
>The following is a preliminary assessment of the coarser details of the
>tagging and recovery as revealed by our analyses. This information was
>presented at the meeting of the Pacific Branch of the Entomological
>Society of America in Pacific Grove, California (1-2 March 2005). The
>tagging data is a veritable gold mine and more information will be
>forthcoming at a future date. ...
>
>[ Read the full text of this article at
>http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0330.html#7 ]
>
>==========================================
>
>8) Notes on the Western Population
>
>Western Overwintering Season Ends
>
>The remaining few monarchs at most western overwintering sites are tired
>males. Early spring weather hit in patches throughout February, between
>BIG storms up and down the coast, stimulating mating and spring dispersal.
>Site monitors are now turning towards data entry and evaluation, but it
>looks like it was a low year overall in California. ...
>
>[ Read the full text of this article at
>http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update/2005/0330.html#8 ]
>
>==========================================
>
>9) Thank you Map Resources!
>
>A big THANK YOU goes out to Map Resources - the company has recently
>donated some of their incredible Royalty Free digital maps to Monarch
>Watch. These maps will will be used to enhance resources available on our
>website, to present data generated by the tagging program, and in many
>other projects!
>
>To check out their maps yourself visit their website at
>
>http://www.mapresources.com/
>
>==========================================
>
>10) About Our Update List
>
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>
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>
>http://www.MonarchWatch.org/update
>
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>
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>
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>
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>
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>
>Monarch Watch
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