Mexico City, Aug 23 (EFE).- Illegal logging inside Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve declined by 40 percent in 2015-2016, conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said Tuesday.
In the core of the reserve, which comprises forests in the central state of Mexico and neighboring Michoacan, illegal logging extended to 11.92 hectares, a significant reduction from the 19.9 hectares registered in the 2014-2015 season.
A total of 72.3 hectares in the reserve suffered degradation in 2015-2016, according to a report compiled by the WWF-Telmex-Telcel Foundation Alliance, the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas, and the Institute of Biology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Illegal logging, a major threat to the monarchs, can be blamed for 16.4 percent of the damage, while the felling of trees due to storms and high winds accounts for 74.6 percent, the report says.
The recent decline in illegal logging is a positive sign that “should motivate the federal, state and local communities to protect these forests,” WWF Mexico CEO Omar Vidal said.
Monarch butterflies, known for their large orange wings with black borders, travel up to 4,200 kilometers each fall from Canada and the northern USA to their winter home in Mexico.
“Since the forests provide the microclimate needed for butterflies to survive the winter, illegal logging must be eradicated and degraded areas need to be restored,” Vidal said.
Other threats to the monarchs during their migration are the reduction in milkweed in the US due to the use of herbicides, and extreme weather conditions.