Monarch Butterfly Reserve – Mexico

  • Site:  Monarch Butterfly Reserve
  • Country/Region: Michoacan, Mexico
  • Active Since: 2016
  • Trees planted: 10K trees
  • 2020 planting season: 22K trees
  • Scale-up potential: 300K trees
Impact Highlights
  • This UNESCO World Heritage site is the breeding ground for the iconic Monarch butterfly. 
Protecting the Majestic Monarch Butterfly

The instantly recognizable flashes of fiery orange and black mark the iconic wing pattern of the Monarch butterfly. Flying south from Canada, all the way to Michoacán, Mexico, the Monarch’s migration pattern is as extraordinary as that of its wings.

At the end of this journey, for a few months, they rest and breed in Michoacán where they are protected by a 13,000-hectare biosphere reserve. Here, the survival of the Monarch butterfly depends entirely on the native Oyamel tree, the Abies Religiosa or ‘Sacred Fir’. Hundreds of millions of butterflies pass the winter clung to these firs.

Nowadays, the area preserved for the Monarchs has come under threat. The Oyamel trees are illegally harvested by those who do not realize their enormous role in the ecosystem. Intensifying this problem, a major forest fire in 1978 caused massive deforestation and the subsequent seasonal rains, washed away fertile soil, leaving 25% of the reserve’s land degraded and in urgent need of restoration. Despite efforts over the past thirty years, natural restoration is not occurring at a rate sufficient to protect the Monarch butterfly’s life-supporting habitat.