Avocados vs Monarch Butterflies

Illegal clearcutting for the planting of avocado orchards – one of Mexico’s most lucrative crops – is destroying the pine forest habitats of the monarch butterfly

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Four years ago, the press were very much engaged with the fate of the monarch butterfly:

Your avocado toast may be killing the Monarch butterfly due to deforestation| qz.com

Rising avocado prices fuelling illegal deforestation in Mexico | guardian.com

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This has had devastating results on numbers of the butterfly:

Monarch butterflies losing ground | dw.com

Avocados Vs. Butterflies | indianapublicmedia.org

Monarch butterfly populations in the west are down an order of magnitude from last year | qz.com

 

Illegal logging and deforestation has also devastated towns and villages:

Avocado growers blamed for flood damage in San Gabriel

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And this week, trying to save the butterflies’ habitat has become a fatal occupation:

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Second monarch butterfly sanctuary worker found dead in Mexico

A second worker at Mexico’s famed monarch butterfly sanctuary has been found murdered, sparking concerns that the defenders of one of Mexico’s most emblematic species are being slain with impunity.

The body of Raúl Hernández Romero, a part-time tour guide, was found on Saturday according to prosecutors in the western state of Michoacán…

The state has seen a rising tide of violence in recent years, and the region around the monarch butterfly reserve has been rife with illegal logging, despite a ban imposed to protect the monarchs, which winter in the pine- and fir-covered hills.

Some illegal clearcutting is also carried out to allow for the planting of avocado orchards – one of Mexico’s most lucrative crops and an important part of Michoacán’s economy.

The deaths again called attention to the disturbing trend in Mexico of environmental defenders being killed as they come into conflict with developers or local crime groups, who often have political and police protection.

Gómez himself was once a logger, but helped lead his community toward a more sustainable economic path, in which they would protect the monarch butterflies and attract tourists instead.

Millions of the butterflies make a 2,000-mile (3,220km) journey each year from Canada to pass the winter in central Mexico’s warmer weather, but the population has been declining over recent years.

   
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