Monarch butterflies are among the most charismatic of endangered fauna. Because of not only their visual beauty but also their enchanting migrations, they have achieved striking popularity especially among Northern conservationists. While these migrations may be spectacular, they are also transnationaland this brings the conservation effort of the butterfly to the realm of international environmental cooperation. Each winter, the Monarch Butterfly populations of the eastern United States and Canada take flight destined for Michoacán, a forested region in central Mexico, where they spend the winter in the forests of oyamel fir trees. Though this process is not entirely understood, many scientists reason that this particular ecosystem is very well-suited to protecting the butterflies from freezing. This inevitable migration implicates the interests of the residents of Michoacán, who have traditionally used and sold the wood of the oyamel trees as part of their subsistence livelihoods.
[...] Environmental justice involves proportionate distribution of environmental risks, giving equal access to environmental goods like clean air, and giving equal voice to groups in environment-related decision-making.[xii] By the third part of this definition, the Mexican government's decision to declare regions of Michoacán conservation sites was not environmentally just because it did not involve the affected people in the political process. The way the MBBR was established reveals important aspects of the thought informing environmental policy at the time (and likely to this day). [...]
[...] A minor problem is the predictability of wildlife patterns; some research suggests that the butterflies' annual migration sites vary rather unpredictably, and the remapping is admittedly optimistic in its ability to forecast landing sites.[xxxi] But this scientific problem is not as important as the logistical one: more complex reserve boundaries will mean more uncertainty over which trees are off-limits, and greater costs of enforcement. Both of these problems can be mitigated however by the greater involvement of local populations in the drawing of reserve boundaries, which remains a priority. [...]
[...] Centro de Ecología y Desarrollo Honey-Rosés, Jordi. About Monarch Butterfly.” World Wildlife Fund Mexico < http://www.wwf.org.mx/monarch_conservation.php> David Hunter et. al. International Environmental Law and Policy. P912 Shrader-Frechette, Krisin. Environmental Justice: Creating Equality, Reclaiming Democracy. Oxford University Press 2002. Jordan and Sullivan. Waning Reign of Monarchs.” The Washington Post February 2005. Tucker, Catherine M. “Community Institutions and Forest Management in Mexico's Monarch Butterfly Reserve.” Society and Natural Resources, #17. Ascher, William. Communities and Sustainable Forestry in Developing Countries. International Center for Self-Governance. San Francisco 1995. [...]
[...] From 2000 to 2004, million in private funds from the United States and government funds from Mexico had been paid to local residents as an incentive not to cut trees and for their help in conserving the forests.[xxii] In some ways, this scheme of the North paying the South for conservation is equivalent to payments-for-conservation, as a subsidy meant simply to limit resource consumption. Though it seems to work in the interests of everyone, this monetary compensation might not work in the long term. [...]
[...] International Environmental Law and Policy. P912 Ibid. p937 [xii] Shrader-Frechette, Krisin. Environmental Justice: Creating Equality, Reclaiming Democracy. Oxford University Press 2002. [xiii] Ibid. p4 [xiv] Ibid. p5 Hunter supra n p934 [xvi] Jordan and Sullivan. Waning Reign of Monarchs.” The Washington Post February 2005.
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