Partnering to conserve the monarch butterfly migration

Monarch Breeding Habitat Assessment Tool

As we work to improve and create new monarch breeding habitat, we need metrics to gauge the quality and effectiveness of our habitat conservation efforts. Currently, no standard protocol exists with which to evaluate and characterize monarch breeding habitat quality. Using citizen science data from the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) regarding monarch use of and survival in milkweed habitats with different characteristics, University of Minnesota researchers have identified key characteristics of quality monarch habitat, and have developed an easy-to-use assessment tool that can be used throughout the monarchs’ breeding range. View the assessment tool here.

This tool is being distributed to land managers, monarch conservation volunteers, and any other interested parties to evaluate and improve their monarch habitat(s). Data collected using this tool will help us better understand the availability of quality monarch habitat in various regions of the country, and evaluate the effectiveness of monarch habitat improvement efforts and monitoring programs, such as the MLMP or Monarch Waystation program.

The Monarch Lab is working with MJV to establish an online tool structured around the Breeding Habitat Assessment Tool. This online tool will be more interactive with the end user, offering suggestions for how to improve their habitat for monarchs. As habitats are submitted this way, MJV will grow a dataset to better understand relative habitat quality, especially when paired with citizen science monitoring data.

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