Monarch Butterflies in a Tailspin

Posted on by Dodge

Monarch butterfly photo by Chip Taylor

University of Kansas insect ecologist, Dr. Chip Taylor, who is the founder and director of Monarch Watch, explains in this interview for Yale Environment 360 the variety of factors that are leading to a precipitous decline in the monarch butterfly population.

If you are a long time reader of the Dodge blog, you may remember that we’ve written about monarch butterflies many times, including this “Monarch Mondays” series (part 1, 2, 3, 4) from 2010. As funders of the Educational Information Resources Center and their Monarch Teacher Network, this article caught our eye, and we wanted to share it.

Read the full article: Tracking the Causes of Sharp Decline of the Monarch Butterfly

Image courtesy Dr. Chip Taylor
interview via Richard Coniff

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2 Responses to Monarch Butterflies in a Tailspin

  1. Cathy B Griffin says:

    Many thanks to the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation for supporting the Monarch Teacher Network over the years. We are doing all we can to teach others to provide milkweed for Monarchs throughout their migration each year. Plant milkweed!

  2. Thanks for posting this article. It is the best synopsis of the current status of the eastern North American monarch population that I’ve seen. Kudos to Chip Taylor. Each of us individually and collectively continue through our actions to make choices about what the future of life on this planet will be. Most of us have a very limited understanding of the consequences of our actions. The collapse of the monarch migration, if and when it happens…like the canary in the coal mine… will foreshadow many other consequences that should be of concern to all.

    It is worth noting that the western monarch population (west of the Rockies) is also in trouble and on a parallel path. It is difficult to know the exact role of each contributing factor in the decline, but the downturn is unmistakable. Over the past two decades there has been a 90% decline in th western population. Significant factors in the decline include the effects of intensive agriculture, damage to the trees in the traditional CA overwintering colony sites, pervasive lack of milkweed (compared to historic availability) for the summer breeding generations and perhaps climate change.

    As Chip points out, if the monarch population continues to decline, it will be harder to get people… students and teachers and just plain folks… to get involved. Virtual monarchs will never generate the same excitement as the real thing. We need desperately to get kids outdoors again and connected to reality. We need this monarch migration far more than the monarchs need us.

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