The Oyamel Forests, The People Who Live There, and The Monarch Butterfly Migration

It seems that every time the issue of protecting a threatened habitat arises, there is a persistent and difficult question. In the case of the monarch overwintering areas in the mountains of Central Mexico, the issue is in sharp focus. To survive, the poor peasant farmers who live in the overwintering areas must have the wood they take from the forest to survive. The monarch butterflies need the same forest to overwinter if the wonder of their annual migration is to continue.

Usually in this kind of a situation, the creatures lose out. There is serious doubt whether the migration which brings tens of millions of monarchs to the oyamel forests each winter will be able to continue. When this and future generations of people from the United States, Canada, Mexico and other parts of the world go to the mountains of Mexico to marvel at so many monarchs, will they be there?

Hopefully the migration will continue. Maybe the monarchs are smarter than we think. Maybe they will be able to survive even if the oyamel forests grow weaker and they continue to disappear. But if history is any indication, the forests, the monarchs and the local people desperately need help.

Please take a look at the August 25 New York Times article concerning the Forests, the People, and the Monarch Migration