According to a recent, article that appeared in The Wildlife Society’s e-Wildlifer, this past winter the population of monarch butterflies found in their wintering grounds in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico dropped by roughly 26 percent.
Researchers attribute the decline, in large part, to a dramatic increase in illegal logging. While these activities have long been a problem, this past year it resulted in the removal of four times more of the firs and pines used by the butterflies as roosting sites than are typically lost. As a result, surveyors were only able to find the butterflies overwintering in only 2.1 hectares of habitat. To put this in perspective, the previous year monarchs wintered across 2.8 hectares of forests.
Monarch experts also believe that trees killed by beetle infestations, drought, and windstorms contributed to the decline.