Migratory monarchs have significantly declined over the last twenty years. To protect these beautiful, iconic pollinators, it is crucial that we understand their distribution, habitat availability and habitat quality. The Monarch Conservation Science Partnership (MCSP), a collaborative of scientists and conservation professionals from academia, NGOs and federal and state agencies, has developed an Integrated Monitoring Strategy to track monarchs and their habitat using a spatially balanced sampling scheme. Information gathered with this strategy will support continued development of MCSP models and tools that yield conservation recommendations. Furthermore, data collected over the long term will help track long-term population status and trends and aid in evaluating the effectiveness of conservation actions.
To date, MCSP analyses have focused on setting population and habitat targets, modeling threats, and developing conservation recommendations for monarchs in the eastern U.S., and have been tested in the east. Recognizing that western monarchs have unique life history characteristics and biogeographical differences, a Western MCSP convened last year, and is receiving funding from the MJV to evaluate and improve the applicability of MCSP protocols for western monarchs.