http://www.thesudburystar.com:80/Articl ... ?e=1191298
Illegal logging, herbicides behind monarch butterfly decline: expert
Posted By BRENT DAVIS, THE CANADIAN PRESS
They're an iconic fixture on the summertime landscape.
And even if you're not a butterfly expert, you'd probably recognize the distinctive black and orange monarch as it flutters about.
It's difficult, then, to imagine a time when they could all but vanish from Ontario skies. But experts warn this could happen within 20 years if action isn't taken to protect an already fragile population.
The eastern North American monarch population -those, east of the Rocky Mountains, that migrate south to Mexico every year -has been in steady decline in recent years.
And anecdotal evidence this year from amateur spotters across the continent, reporting fewer caterpillars and adult monarch, shows the trend is most likely continuing.
"It's a really sad, sad thought," said Adrienne Brewster, curator of the Wings of Paradise Butterfly Conservatory in Cambridge.
A number of factors account for the decline.
All of the eastern monarchs, tens of millions of them, migrate each fall to the same overwintering grounds in the mountains of central Mexico.
Illegal logging there eliminates the protective insulation that helps protect the butterflies from lethal winter storms.
Closer to home, widespread herbicide use is contributing to the destruction of milkweed, the only plant monarch caterpillars will feed on.