Published: Sunday 15 October 2000

-- A recent study has revealed that at least 44 per cent of the original forest of Mexico has disappeared, since 1971, due to logging and farming. These include the forests in protected areas. At this rate, all the original forests would be gone in less than 50 years. Even where intact forest remains, it has been reduced to isolated patches, destroying the entire ecosystem.

This has threatened the habitat of the monarch butterflies. The butterflies annually migrate to the central Mexican mountain forest from Canada. According to the biologists, though the destruction of their habitat has not affected the number of butterflies migrating, there has been a change in their migration patterns. "The monarchs are leaving Mexico earlier than normal, returning north to lay eggs while the weather is still cold enough to threaten their offspring," Brower said. Therefore, the Mexican government has decided to triple their habitat. The environment ministry plans to expand the size of the reserved area from 16,000 hectares to 56,000 hectares.

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