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Decline Of Monarch Butterflies Linked To Spread Of GM Crops

Environment  (tags: GM food, GM Risks, Spread of GM Crops, Loss of Monarch Butterflies, Monsanto, Monsanto Roundup, animals, ecosystems, endangered, conservation, environment, habitatdestruction, humans, nature, science, Sustainabililty, wildlife, world )

- 1471 days ago -
The main cause of the monarch butterfly's decline is the loss of milkweed -- its food -- in its U.S. breeding grounds, a new study has found. That all but confirms that the spread of genetically modified crops is indirectly killing the monarch.

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Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Friday June 6, 2014, 5:25 pm
This past winter, the number of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico fell to its lowest since 1993, when records first started being kept, the World Wildlife Fund and Mexico’s Environment Department reported in January. That report blamed the loss of milkweed owing to genetically modified crops and urban sprawl in the U.S. and illegal logging in the butterflies’ Mexican wintering ground.

Now, an analysis combining all the known data about monarch populations and the factors that influence them shows that the monarch’s biggest threat is in the U.S., not Mexico.

The leaves of the milkweed plant are the only place that monarchs lay their eggs and the only food that monarch butterfly caterpillars will eat. A large proportion of monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains breed in the U.S. corn belt, stretching from Kansas in the west to Ohio in the east, and south to north from Missouri to North Dakota.

The new study led by Tyler Flockhart, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Guelph, showed that the number of milkweed plants in the U.S. corn belt, where most monarchs breed, has fallen 20 per cent over the past few decades.

“It’s a massive number of milkweeds — about 1.5 billion milkweed plants,” he said.

Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Friday June 6, 2014, 5:26 pm
The study, published today in the Journal of Animal Ecology, shows this decline in milkweed is the main cause of the monarch’s recent population decline, not deforestation in Mexico. If this milkweed loss continues, the study predicts, monarch populations will fall at least another 14 per cent and there is a five per cent chance they will be driven nearly to extinction over the next century .

Study co-author Ryan Norris, a biology professor at the University of Guelph, said that “likely the biggest cause of loss of milkweed is the adoption of genetically modified crops.”

Farmers have been increasingly planting corn and soybeans resistant to herbicides, and then applying those herbicides liberally on their fields. That kills off plants between the rows of crops that aren’t resistant, such as milkweed.

That’s been a big problem for the butterflies. Even now, 67 per cent of milkweed plants in the butterflies’ breeding grounds are found in “agriculture-intensive landscapes,” the study reported.

JL A (281)
Friday June 6, 2014, 5:55 pm
And this study's results is a replication of almost all other studies making it pretty much the scientific consensus that should no longer be ignored by decision-makers.

Barbara K (60)
Friday June 6, 2014, 5:55 pm
I try my best to keep chemicals out of my yard. I worry that even the Hummingbirds will die off. We are losing some real beauty with these nasty chemicals.

Lady S (446)
Friday June 6, 2014, 6:00 pm
Great article Betsy. Thanks for the forward.

Karen Gee (97)
Friday June 6, 2014, 6:16 pm
Thank you Betsy, shared

Sandrea S (278)
Friday June 6, 2014, 6:21 pm
"Money" is the root to all evil.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Friday June 6, 2014, 6:56 pm

Birgit W (160)
Friday June 6, 2014, 7:01 pm
Thanks for sharing Betsy.

Sheila D (194)
Friday June 6, 2014, 7:36 pm
Agree with Barbara that we are losing alot of beauty, and not just the monarchs are dying, other butterfly numbers are dwindling.

Steven G (25)
Friday June 6, 2014, 8:13 pm
Not just butterflies, we could be next. A growing body of research indicates that Roundup herbicide and its metabolite, AMPA, are vastly more toxic than the public is being told. Activist sentiment aside, the scientific research itself increasingly points to banning this herbicide as the only logical solution.

Following closely on the heels of a study showing that Roundup herbicide is 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation, the new study adds to an increasingly damning body of evidence that reveals agrochemicals used in GMO food production are vastly more harmful than their manufacturers, regulators and proponents will admit.

Just by themselves, using GMOs along with weather warfare (chemtrails/HAARP) could be used effectively to depopulate the planet as intoned in the Georgia Guidestones; a granite edifice with an alarming set of standards for a New World Order.

Artur B (135)
Friday June 6, 2014, 10:04 pm

Anette S (22)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 12:12 am
“Here’s the lesson for any species that crosses international boundaries or any species that moves long distances over the course of its annual cycle,” he said. “You can’t focus on one part of the annual cycle.”

Lo and behold! (sarcasm)

Gene Jacobson (290)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 1:14 am
"The leaves of the milkweed plant are the only place that monarchs lay their eggs and the only food that monarch butterfly caterpillars will eat. A large proportion of monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains breed in the U.S. corn belt, stretching from Kansas in the west to Ohio in the east, and south to north from Missouri to North Dakota."

That last part really should say Minnesota - I don't know how many Monarchs spend time in the oil drenched North Dakota lands anymore. What I do remember is that in my childhood each year and throughout the year the sky was dark with the beauty of this magnificently beautiful butterfly and that our woods and roadsides and any unplanted area was filled to overflowing with milkweed plants. Then came DDT and for decades the Monarch's disappeared, decades after Rachel Carson illuminated the scientific and human world (sometimes they are the same, often not, especially now as I consider scientists who work for Monsanto and industries like that one not really scientists at all anymore - they know full well what they have done and don't care which makes them something other than scientists to me) about the effects of DDT in her wonderful book, Silent Spring. Until then we could honestly say we didn't know what we were doing, since then, we have to say we don't care - much like we have to say we don't care what happens to the world when we are gone - any who saw (and if you didn't, you should find it) Cosmos this past weekend as it proved without doubt the affect our burning of fossil fuels has had, is having and will have on climate change.

For a brief period, a few years ago they were back, in greatly reduced numbers, but what a joy it was to see them again. Then came Monsanto and the virtual demise of milkweed as pointed out, the ONLY plant Monarch's lay their eggs on. If it, Roundup and Monsanto with its genetically modified seeds (and don't get me started on the other horrible aspects of this evil global empire) can have the same effect DDT did on Monarch's in so short a period of time, we can only imagine, darkly what their products are doing to other plants, and by extension, us. They are a juggernaut, virtually unstoppable like the fossil fuels industries. Only through relentless pressure and real activism can we, the people of this world, slow, reduce and one day halt what is being done to our wildlife, our planet and ourselves. Will we? That's my real worry, people don't pay attention, they don't care, they don't know and they don't want to. It is our grandchildren who are going to see the worst of what is to come begin by the end of this century, though it will be a wild ride until then, and long, long beyond. There is no unearthly force that is going to save us, only we have that capability and until we care enough, love enough to wake, the death toll of species and plants is only going to mount.

PlsNoMessage s (588)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 1:52 am

Ivana Brekalo (60)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 2:38 am

mary f (202)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 2:39 am
thanks Betsy butterflies and bees are really getting scarce its quite frightening

Alexandra G (250)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 3:24 am
thanks Betsy

B Lewenza (76)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 4:28 am
Noted I am from the very southern point of Canada in Ontario and as a result the milkweed was banned here years ago when I was just a child. I don't think that they were aware of the harm that it would cause, they just seen it as an evasive weed. I used to play with the milk weed when I was a child as we had mounds of it especially near ponds. Point Pelee National Park in the fall was where the monarchs would gather in flocks in the very early fall, it was a fantastic site and it drew many people to the park to witness the event. This would be the gathering place for them before they took flight for their long journey to winter over in Mexico. About 20 years ago now I'm guessing at the exact time period but Mexico had endured an unusual weather change and the monarchs froze to death in drowls. I was heart broken when this happened, but luckily the cacoons that they left before their departure to Mexico opened in the spring to replenish again. Sad that it has come to this as we Canadians see the Monarch as the Majestic Butterfly.

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 5:14 am
That links to human selfishness instead

B Lewenza (76)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 5:22 am
Betsy here is a link to Point Pelee National Park

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 5:34 am
So sad that the traitors of this country are holding the greed for money and power above what is the right thing to do for the Earth and the people and animals I will continue to fight against these injustices and try to save our pollinators.

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 5:41 am
Thanks for sharing Betsy, great article. Also please plant organic milkweed native to your area. This year I planted native to Michigan milkweed that I purchased at the bee symposium along with foam flowers, butterfly weed, mountain mint, wild bergamot, all our pollinators desperately need our help. Ten thousand green stars to Betsy ; )

Freya H (357)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 6:58 am
The popular media spew the allegations about Sergeant Bergdahl being a deserter, and condemn Obama for a hostage swap when Republican Presidents did the same - remember Reagan and how the Iranian hostage crisis really ended? Yet Monsanto and its evil products are doing far more harm to our nation than Bergdahl and Obama allegedly did. Where is the uproar over Roundup? Where is the loud condemnation about how GMOs are hurting us, and other creatures, and the planet?

Heidi Walderra (162)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 7:42 am
Noted and shared

Connie O (44)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 8:17 am
We have planted extra milkweed specifically for the monarchs. Thanks for sharing.

Rehana VN (0)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 9:04 am

Sara S (2)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 9:59 am
I love milkweed plants, and find them beautiful. The best way we can help the monarchs, other than by planting milkweed, is to boycott GMO foods.

Kathleen M (211)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 10:03 am
Noted. Thanks, Betsy! We've planted bee and butterfly friendly plants in our community garden, and some of us have engaged in a bit of "guerrilla gardening" in empty lots, roadsides, and wilder sections of parklands. It's little enough, but all we can do is what we can, at least until we get Monsanto kicked off the planet, or better yet, out of the Universe!

Anne F (17)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 10:20 am
BIG agriculture wants to grow more and more corn and soy: so that it can be used in many processed foods and burnt to move cars and trucks. The butterflies are beautiful and deserve our support.

Craig Pittman (52)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 10:48 am
We have planted milkweed and a variety of flowers as food for them and other pollinators. We don't use any chemicals. If we are going to stop companies like Monsanto from developing chemicals that are virtually destroying our ecosystem hit their bottom line. Do not purchase food stuffs grown with these chemicals ie. support true organic farms. Get to know the farmers. Thanks for this story Betsy.

Lindsay K (6)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 10:49 am
This should be a wake-up call!

. (0)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 10:56 am
Thanks for the article.

. (0)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 11:10 am

Katherine May Williams (0)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 1:17 pm

Athena F (131)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 1:27 pm
dumb-arse greed-mongers are going to destroy us all. :(

I haven't ever used pesticides on my lawn/plants, but even here I notice there are fewer butterflies and bees than there were say 10 years ago. doing the best we can though, and will continue to fight the evil.

thanks for the post!

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 1:28 pm
Thank you! Noted. As usual a great article.

Sheryl G (360)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 1:32 pm
Please plant milkweed and keep fighting to end the toxins in our environment.
Please Go To This Link To Get Your FREE Milkweed Seeds

Michela M (3964)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 2:13 pm

Cathy A (67)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 2:59 pm
Noted and shared....I get a little bit more depressed when I read articles such as this. What part of "Extinction is forever" do people not understand?

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 3:01 pm
I'm not seeing as many hummingbirds this year, I don't use ANY chemicals in or around my yard.I've planted milkweed, all my plants are for the birds bees, & butterflies.I have a Mason bee hive too.

Michela M (3964)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 3:02 pm

Thanks!!! Already Posted in:  ORANGUTANS: Men of the Forest
in: HEALTHY Eating: 146 Pet.- URGENT!! New!!
Please Join & Invite friends to Join
ORANGUTANS: Men of the Forest
together with Sumatran Tigers (Java & Bali Tigers already EXTINCT), Elephants, Rhinos, Clouded Leopards, Sun Bears, Wildlife, Biodiversity they face Extinction!! Only 300 Sumatran Tigers left on Earth!!! 300 Football Fields of Rainforests are CLEARED every hour in SE Asia to produce Palm Oil: a hidden, not labelled, unhealthy ingredient in the products we buy. We MUST do WHATEVER is possible to SAVE them all!!
AGAINST: Corporate Control, Deforestation, Illegal Logging, Global Warming, Pollution, CO2Emissions, Indigenous Peoples Displacement, Pet Trade, Bushmeat Trade, GMO Food, Vivisection, Bee-killing Pesticides… Also other Primates, as Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Gibbons, & Monkeys for Vivisection are dealt in this Group. Petitions/Info/Videos/Pics are here.
Please!! Join, Sign, Invite friends to Join!! Individually: we are one DROP, all together: we are an OCEAN!! ALL together we can make a difference!! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world -Margaret Mead  Thanks!! Michela

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 3:53 pm
I just ordered a large amount of milkweed seeds, and will be planting them around my property. The monarchs are in my area and come to the wildflowers I plant, so I hope to help them a bit.

Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 4:05 pm
I cannot plant milkweed in the desert where I lived now. Wish I could. I was a bee keeper for 14 years in Vermont and all of my gardening was designed to fill the needs of pollinators first and if I got a vegetable or fruit out of was always a welcomed bonus.

Thank you all for such great and inspiring comments and for sharing my feelings for the magnificent monarch butterfly and for knowing as Cathy A mentioned in her comment that "extinction is forever."

Joy McRonald (169)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 6:14 pm
Signed and noted.. Thank you for sharing..

S J (130)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 6:18 pm
Plant milkweed is important but fight those compnies is crucial. I don't think we can keep the pace with the decline.
Thank you Betsy

David C (129)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 7:29 pm
noted, hoping my milkweed grows.....

Kathryn M (108)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 8:47 pm
I like the suggestion to use milkweed in roadside planting!!

Kay M (46)
Saturday June 7, 2014, 10:18 pm
Good Evening Dear Betsy Thank You for calling my attention to this issue- Yes I have noticed the sudden decline in the amount of Monarchs around our neighborhood- along with all other types of butterflies - I too believe it is due to all the LANDSCAPE Personal working on the lawns and gardens around here -Between termite killers, roach, and bee sprays- powders and sprays for veggie and ornamental gardens - IT ALL ADDS UP TO OVERKILL----PERIOD It all has to stop NOW

Betty Kelly (4)
Sunday June 8, 2014, 1:24 am
To no avail I have been screaming "NO GMOs", "NO TOXIC PESTICIDES". Our Food Supplies are Endangered because GMOs & pesticides destroy our Polinators. STOP THE USE OF THESE KILLERS.

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 8, 2014, 3:28 am

John Holton (344)
Sunday June 8, 2014, 3:39 am

Gabriele Jefferson (147)
Sunday June 8, 2014, 1:29 pm
noted,shared on fb, twitter, g+, thx.

Ruth R (246)
Sunday June 8, 2014, 2:10 pm
Signed !

Barbara P (1069)
Sunday June 8, 2014, 5:41 pm
Noted... and will share!

Dietrich S (52)
Monday June 9, 2014, 3:14 am
s&s. It’s so horrible that always more respect is given to profiteering than to the treausures of nature.
When will people rise up against politicians who are destroying our earth with their corrupt laws???

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 2:52 am

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 2:55 am

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 2:57 am

Elizabeth P (99)
Friday June 13, 2014, 12:27 pm
Thank You. Noted. Keep up the good work. Everyone!!!!!

Mitchell D (87)
Wednesday June 18, 2014, 6:44 pm
I was away, found this late:
Please check out and www.Journeynorth,org, for their monarch related focus.

Stella G (403)
Saturday September 20, 2014, 3:37 am
Grazie, notato
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