96% of all Deforestation within Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries Occur in a Single Community

Posted on
25 agosto 2015

MEXICO CITY – A new survey of the core zone of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico for the 2014-2015 period indicates that only one –out of the 32 communities participating in the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund – lost nearly 52 acres of forest. The survey was carried out by the WWF-Telcel Alliance and the Institute of Biology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
The data released today show that 49.17 acres of forest were degraded due to illegal logging and 2.74 acres due to droughts, pests, lightning and landslides. Of those 49.17 acres, 47.27 (96%) were affected by large-scale illegal logging in the community of San Felipe de los Alzati in Michoacan state, and 1.90 acres were affected by small-scale logging in 11 other agrarian properties.
“For years most of the local communities in the core zone of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve have shown their commitment to conserve their forests by participating in the Monarch Fund, reducing deforestation to almost zero in 2011. Unfortunately over the last three years illegal logging has been documented in the same community of San Felipe of los Alzati," said Omar Vidal, Director General of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Mexico.
"The annual forest survey is the basis for allocating the economic incentives of the Monarch Fund - an innovative mechanism that compensates communities that preserve the forest- coordinated by WWF and the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature, in close collaboration with the federal government, the governments of Michoacan and the State of Mexico, and other civil society organizations," said Victor Manuel Sanchez Cordero, Director of the Institute of Biology of the UNAM.
As in previous years, forest monitoring was conducted by comparing satellite images and photographs, and the results were verified in the field by specialists from the Monarch Reserve, the National Forestry Commission, the Institute of Biology of the UNAM and the WWF-Telcel Alliance, accompanied by local communities.
"It is essential that the authorities increase surveillance in the area and continue their dialogue with the San Felipe de los Alzati community to stop forest degradation immediately. There is a successful example with the community of Crescencio Morales, Michoacan - where over half of the large-scale logging took place between 2001 and 2012 - and who, after joining and receiving support from the Monarch Fund, managed to virtually eliminate the lost of their forest," added Vidal.
In 2014, the President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, the President of the United States Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper formed a tri-national working group to protect the monarch butterfly and its habitat. That year the US Fish and Wildlife Service, at the request of environmental groups announced that it would examine the possibility of classifying the monarch as a "threatened species" and also launched a campaign to restore and protect their habitat by planting milkweed (main source of food of monarch larvae) throughout the most critical breeding areas. 
Since 2003 the WWF-Telcel Alliance, in coordination with communities and federal and state governments, supports the conservation and management of the monarch butterfly forests. "In these 12 years we have supported the reforestation of 24,273 acres with more than 10.73 million trees and promoted sustainable tourism by improving infrastructure, training, equipment and care of over 80 thousand tourists who visit the sanctuary every year," said Marcela Velasco, Director of Telcel’s Corporate Marketing, who reiterated their company’s commitment to the long-term conservation of Mexico’s natural resources.

About Telcel 
Telcel, a leader in its field and socially responsible company, recognizes the importance of Mexico’s conservation and sustainable management of natural resources to improve social and economic conditions of the population. The responsibility to our environment is a fundamental commitment for Telcel. www.telcel.com.mx
Contact: Gustavo Aranda, Tel. 2581 3700 ext. 5162, gustavo.aranda@telcel.com

About WWF
WWF is one of the largest and most experienced independent conservation organizations in the world. WWF was founded in 1961 and is known by its panda logo. It has a global network active in over 100 countries. For more information, visit: www.wwf.org.mx and www.worldwildlife.org
Contact: Jatziri Pérez, Tel. 5286-5631 ext. 223, jperez@wwfmex.org