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Quantitative Changes in Forest Quality in a Principal Overwintering Area of the Monarch Butterfly in Mexico, 1971-1999

TitleQuantitative Changes in Forest Quality in a Principal Overwintering Area of the Monarch Butterfly in Mexico, 1971-1999
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsBrower, L. P., G. Castilleja, A. Peralta, J. Lopez-Garcia, L. Bojorquez-Tapia, S. Diaz, D. Melgarejo, and M. Missrie
JournalConservation Biology
Date PublishedAPR 2002
ISBN Number0888-8892

Degradation of the oyame fir-pine forest ecosystem in central,Mexico is a threat to the overwintering and migratory phenomenon of the eastern North American population of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Because a lack of quantitative data has hindered effective conservation policy, we photogrammatically, analyzed the changing state of a major overwintering forest area. We anal zed stereographic aerial photographs of a 42,020-ha area taken in 1971, 1984, and 1999 will; GRASS, a geographic information system. What in 1971 was a nearly, continuous high-quality forest is now fragmented and severely, degraded. Between 1971 and 1999, 44% of conserved forest (forest with >80% cover) was degraded, and the largest patch of high-quality, forest was reduced from 27,115 ha to 5827 ha. The annual rate of degradation from 1971 to 1984 was 1.70%, and this increased to 2.41% during the next 15 years, At the latter rate, <10,000 ha of high-quality forest will remain in 20 years and <4,500 ha in,50,years. A subset of the analysis quantified changes in a 6596ha area on the Sierra Chincua, Sierra Campanario, and Cerro Chivati Huacal massifis that were declared protected by presidential decree in 1986 Corresponding rates of degradation of these reserves more than tripled from approximately, 1.0% between 1971 and 1984 to more than 3% between 1984 and 1999. Passage of the 1986 decree failed to protect the forest. Our data provide irrefutable evidence that successful implementation of a more inclusive presidential decree issued in November 2000 will require (1) effective enforcement against logging within the oyamel-pine forest ecosystem and (2) restoration of areas that have been degraded. All indications are that the rate of logging is increasing throughout the area. The grandeur of the monarch butterfly, overwintering phenomenon in this tiny area of,Mexico is too great a cultural and biological treasure for this rampantly destructive process to continue.

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Short TitleQuantitative changes in forest quality in a principal overwintering area of the monarch butterfly in Mexico, 1971-1999
Citation Key471