Science, Tech & Environment

Butterflies lose habitat in Mexico

(What was your reaction to these satellite photos?) I was shocked by the amount of cutting over the past two years. (Because the monarchs need these forests?) The forests act as a blanket that protect the monarchs. They're inside the tropics but the forest is like a refrigerator for them. So they can't survive without, and this is supposedly a protected area from logging. (What do these before and after NASA photos illustrate?) The brown is where forest has been almost completely wiped out by cutting. There's just a huge, open area of nearly a thousand acre of prime butterfly habitat, one of about twelve prime sites, which is now no longer fit for them. (What kind of protection is Mexico supposed to be providing?) There have been two decrees by the Presidents of Mexico, one in 1986 and a revised one in 2000. The Mexican government is not enforcing its own laws which is discouraging. There are some areas that are still in good shape, but there have also been some major incursions by illegal loggers and the federal government has not stopped them. This is a disaster. (What's the responsibility of the US to pressure Mexico to do something?) That's a tough question and there are problems with the US as well on this issue. So we've got our own problem of eliminating breeding grounds as well.

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