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In Mexico, monarchs versus avocado farming

A dying butterfly at the monarch butterfly reserve in Piedra Herrada, Mexico. Without trees to provide thermal cover and roosting sites, the butterflies can freeze to death. Associated Press/Rebecca Blackwell

Avocados are much more lucrative than almost any other legal crop Mexican farmers can grow, and many landholders appear to be turning to avocados, legally or illegally.

By Mark Stevenson
Associated Press
Feb 21, 2018


Mexican environmental inspectors said Wednesday that they found 7.4 acres of illegal avocado plantations in the Monarch butterfly wintering grounds west of Mexico City.

It’s apparently the first time that a wave of avocado planting has directly affected the heart of the Monarch area, a protected nature reserve.

Monarch butterflies migrate from the U.S. and Canada to pine and fir forests that thrive at about the same altitude as prime avocado-growing land.

Previously, deforestation linked to lucrative avocado planting had been seen in areas to the west and south of the reserve.

But on Wednesday the environmental protection office said one man had been arrested for weapons possession at the site. In April, police found that a 91-acre swath of pine trees had been cut down in the nature reserve of Valle de Bravo, a bit east of the butterfly reserve, to plant avocado trees.

Read the complete article here.