Recent reports say the monarch butterfly faces a high probability of extinction in the next two decades if conservation efforts cannot reverse the loss of critical milkweed habitat. To help put the monarch on a path to recovery, the Monarch Joint Venture has added the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to its roster of conservation partners.
Recovering the monarch population is going to require the participation of tens of thousands of landowners across many millions of acres that cross state lines. Fortunately, EDF is developing a new conservation tool -- the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange -- which is especially well suited to enrolling large numbers of working landowners (i.e., farmers, ranchers and forest landowners) in an incentives-based program that can quickly restore milkweed to a broad swath of American farmland.
EDF’s goal in establishing the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange is to enable a sustained recovery of the monarch – improving breeding grounds in the United States which will ultimately result in larger populations of monarch returning to the overwintering habitat in Mexico.
“We are thrilled to engage in this work with the Environmental Defense Fund, and welcome them as a Monarch Joint Venture partner,” said Wendy Caldwell, program coordinator of Monarch Joint Venture.
“At EDF, we place a high value on collaboration and diverse partnerships as a way to achieve positive conservation outcomes,” said David Wolfe, director of conservation strategies at EDF. “The expansive range of the monarch and the sheer volume of conservation needed for this species require a concerted and coordinated effort among a wide variety of public and private entities.”
“Working with the Monarch Joint Venture offers a diverse partnership of agencies, non-governmental organizations and research institutions that together make an all-star team of monarch defenders,” Wolfe added.
EDF has a rich history of science-based wildlife and environmental conservation. In 1967 a small group of scientists who won a ban on DDT incorporated as the Environmental Defense Fund. Since then, EDF has moved almost entirely to finding and fostering collaborative solutions to environmental challenges – designing innovative strategies, providing analysis and tools, and building the capacity of partners.
“EDF has an excellent track record on developing science-based conservation tools, and I’m glad to see them bring this expertise to monarch recovery efforts,” said Dr. Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota researcher and co-chair of the Monarch Joint Venture steering committee.
EDF’s approach is unique in that it focuses on developing and implementing incentives for agriculture and industry to participate in solutions for wildlife.
“This is an essential time to use this approach to conserve the North American monarch butterfly population,” Oberhauser added.
To learn more about EDF and the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange, please visit: www.edf.org/monarch
The Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. The content in this article does not necessarily reflect the positions of all Monarch Joint Venture partners. Header photo by Candy Sarikonda.