Feature

Can the Monarch Highway Help Save a Butterfly Under Siege?

July 12, 2017By
Can the Monarch Highway Help Save a Butterfly Under Siege?

The population of North American monarch butterflies has plummeted from 1 billion to 33 million in just two decades. Now, a project is underway to revive the monarch by making an interstate highway the backbone of efforts to restore its dwindling habitat.

Interstate 35 lies at the heart of a vast circulatory system, one of the massive transportation arteries that enable Americans to move long distances quickly.

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Restoring monarch butterfly habitat in the Midwestern US: ‘all hands on deck’

July 5, 2017By
Restoring monarch butterfly habitat in the Midwestern US: ‘all hands on deck’

The eastern migratory population of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) has declined by 80% within the last two decades. One possible cause of this decline is the loss of 1.3 billion stems of milkweed (Asclepias spp.), which monarchs require for reproduction.

In an effort to restore monarchs to a population goal established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and adopted by Mexico, Canada, and the US, we developed scenarios for amending the Midwestern US landscape with milkweed.

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Study Blames Roundup for Monarch Butterfly Deaths

May 18, 2017By
Study Blames Roundup for Monarch Butterfly Deaths

A group of Michigan State University researchers say there is a nexus between large-scale deaths of Monarch butterflies and the application of the widely applied herbicide glyphosate.

Their study looked at the application of glyphosate in counties in Illinois and Texas during different seasons in an effort to better understand its potential effect on the population of Monarch butterflies – which has been in sharp decline in recent years.

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Barbara Kingsolver Cheers on Young Farmers

May 17, 2017By
Barbara Kingsolver Cheers on Young Farmers

Let me speak to you as a familiar, because of all the years I’ve cherished members of your tribe. Of course, I also know you’re only yourself, just as I remember the uniqueness of every intern, WWOOFer, and summer weed-puller who has spent a season or two on our family’s farm. Some preferred to work without shoes.

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How much milkweed to save monarch?

May 11, 2017By
How much milkweed to save monarch?

All over Minnesota and beyond, citizens and clubs and the occasional municipality are planting milkweed in hopes of helping the monarch butterfly reverse its ongoing population crash.

Still, the losses continue. This gorgeous, iconic creature’s numbers have declined by probably 80 percent in the last decade, and it may face 50-50 odds of disappearing from the Midwestern landscape in the next two.

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A farewell to kings? New ideas on the vanishing monarch butterflies

April 30, 2017By
A farewell to kings? New ideas on the vanishing monarch butterflies

Everybody loves monarch butterflies. Author Anurag Agrawal refers to them as “the Bambi of the insect world.”

They are specifically bred to be released at weddings; their image has been pressed into service as the symbol of environmental organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Non-GMO project.

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Billions More Milkweeds Needed to Restore Monarchs

April 29, 2017By
Billions More Milkweeds Needed to Restore Monarchs

Monarchs rely on milkweeds for food and for breeding habitat, but over 860 million stems were lost in the northern United States over the last decade. Scientists with the USGS and partners examined the density of Eastern migratory monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico from 1979-2002 and the amount of milkweed plants available to them in North America.

The study found that 3.62 billion milkweed stems are needed to reestablish this monarch population, but only 1.34 billion stems remain in the U.S.

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Poet: Build solar ‘wall’ in Mexico, sell power to customers in US

March 30, 2017By
Poet: Build solar ‘wall’ in Mexico, sell power to customers in US

Mexican poet Homero Aridjis wants to build a solar barrier between his country and the United States — and have the United States pay for it by selling electricity to customers in border cities.

Aridjis, an internationally known poet, novelist and environmental leader, said he has received overwhelming support for the Mexican-built barrier, first proposed by him and James Ramey in a December article on the Huffington Post website.

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