Monarch Collaborative Heralds Favorable Butterfly Population Report, Urges Continued Cooperation to Ensure Long-Term Growth


KEYSTONE, CO, February 29, 2016 — The Monarch Collaborative heralded the reported uptick in monarch butterfly population numbers released Friday by the World Wildlife Fund and the Mexican National Commission of Protected Natural Areas and urged farmers, ranchers, land owners, conservations, and others to keep working collaboratively to support this progress.

According to a report in Journey North, the number of monarchs overwintering in Mexico increased from the record lows of the past three years, though the population remains 32 percent below the historic average. The butterflies, surveyed in December by the World Wildlife Fund along with partners in the Mexican federal and state government, cover 4.01 hectares of forest compared to the 1996 peak of 18 hectares and the historic average of six hectares. This year’s reported population is estimated to be 200 million monarchs compared to the long-term average of 300 million and a peak of 1 billion butterflies. (A hectare is approximately 2.47 acres of land.)

The National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators has set a short-term target of 225 million monarchs overwintering in Mexico (approximately six hectares of covered forest) by 2020 through national/international actions and public/private partnerships.

“These monarch butterfly population numbers are encouraging”, said Steven P. Bradbury, a member of the Monarch Collaborative and a professor with Iowa State University’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management. “The overwintering numbers for 2015/16 provide us time to develop and implement long-term, habitat conservation strategies to provide the foundation for a resilient monarch population. The conservation efforts of the Monarch Collaborative’s members will play a key role in helping ensure the population response noted this winter can become part of a positive trend for the future.”

The Monarch Collaborative is a diverse and dedicated group of organizations working to develop collaborative strategies to support a sustainable population of monarch butterflies while meeting agricultural productivity and habitat conservation goals. The Collaborative’s membership includes a diverse and dedicated group of organizations spanning the research community, agricultural production, conservation causes, public agencies, and others working to develop collaborative solutions to address this challenge.

To learn more about the Monarch Collaborative, visit

Keystone works at the forefront of agricultural coalitions. Keystone’s past and ongoing agriculture collaboratives include Field To Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and the Honey Bee Health Coalition. Keystone also has worked to promote sustainability along the beef supply chain.

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