Michoacan's forests: attractive to loggers. Michoacan's forests: attractive to loggers.

More logging reported in monarchs’ reserve

Landholders say nine hectares were cleared in Michoacán

Monarch butterflies are arriving at their Michoacán and State of México sanctuaries in record numbers, but their future is under threat once again due to new reports of illegal logging.


A group of communal landholders from Cerro Prieto and Jesús de Nazareno, Michoacán, this week denounced the presence of logging crews in the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary, in the heart of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, where they cleared about nine hectares of forest.

After reports of illegal logging in May, residents became impatient over what they felt was a slow response by environmental authorities and took matters into their own hands by detaining three alleged loggers on November 5.

The three individuals were transported to Zitácuaro and turned over to the public prosecutor’s’ office. A few hours later they were released on bail.

The people living on the communal lands, or ejidos, are demanding punishment for those guilty of cutting down some 300 trees, as well as a stronger presence of security forces.

“The government should enforce the law,”said Eliseo Valdez Cruz, from Cerro Prieto. “How is it possible that they [alleged woodcutters] were detained, taken to the prosecutor, and then released on bail? This is a protected area. The law says that anyone caught felling trees should get five to eight years in jail.

“We demand more soldiers to put an end to this, or that [the authorities] grant us more power to take care of the forest ourselves.”


Gloria Tavera, representing Conanp, the national commission of protected areas, acknowledged the rise in illegal logging in the monarchs reserve, and that nine hectares have been affected in the Sierra Chincua area.

“Organized groups or lone individuals took advantage of the power vacuum during the change of elected authorities and illegally entered the sanctuaries. Today we’ve put a halt to this.

“What we’re working on now is a restoration strategy for that territory,” said Tavera, who is also the secretary of the Trinational Monarch Butterfly Protection Task Force.

Ignacio Millán of Profepa said the environmental agency has reports that only 100 square meters have been affected by illegal logging. He also said that the well-being of Profepa inspectors is at risk due to social conditions in Michoacán, and has asked for coordinated efforts between the armed forces and federal and state environmental authorities.

Millán also highlighted that there are areas of forest with uncertain designations: “Some areas have been declared national [federal], others of the state. At the end of the day nobody’s in charge.

“I believe that those lands should be either expropriated by the federal authority or intervened at a higher level by the [local] government.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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  • PaulCherubini

    Much ado about nothing because the logging occured away from any monarch cluster trees. Besides, monarch love logged clearings because dew water forms on the cleared ground overnight and that’s one way they obtain their vital drinking water like this: http://www.mexicovacationtravels.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/lotsofmonarchscottclark.jpg

    • PintorEnMexico

      So if there were no trees there, the monarchs would just hang out on the hot ground mid-day? I think not.They obviously need both the trees and a water source. The ejido was completely right to guard the preserve.

      • PaulCherubini

        Pictures of the logging are not ever shown in these types of alarmist articles because the logging incidents are laughably small in size compared to the vast amount of surrounding forest. Also, the locations of the logging in relation to the locations of the butterfly cluster trees are never shown because the logging occurs laughably far away from the cluster trees.

        • Güerito

          You see that thing down at the bottom of the article that says “source”? That link has a foto of illegal logging taking place in the middle of Sierra Chincua. It’s not an archive foto. I’ve been to El Rosario four times, and you can see bald mountain sides all around as you enter.

          • PaulCherubini

            The Chincua Sanctuary is huge and the butterflies cluster in only tiny spots of forest within the Sanctuary which means the vast majority of the Sanctuary is not really butterfly habitat and could be logged without harm to the butterflies. Monarch overwintering habitats need not be huge pristine type places in wilderness settings – they can be on golf courses in the middle of densely urbanized areas like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEhT3Q6b5yE