Monarch Butterflies Struggle

Geography in the News: Monarch Butterflies Struggle – News Watch.

Near the end of February each year, scientists studying monarch butterflies at their overwintering sites in Central Mexico witness signs that the butterfly colonies were “breaking up.” This separation of tens of thousands of butterflies clustered together on single trees indicate that the populations are preparing for their lengthy spring migration from Mexico to the United States and Southern Canada. This year’s colony numbers were depressed by 59 percent and scientists are worried.

Monarchs have migrated to Mexico for thousands of years, one generation going south, and different generations heading north.  No one knows how they do it.  But we may not have the chance to study these mass migrations much longer, as the species are currently declining at an alarming rate.

One particularly disturbing conclusion is the effect of the decline in milkweed along the migration paths owing to the use of herbicides and perhaps some genetically engineered corn in U.S. agriculture. Milkweed is particularly susceptible to pre-emergent and defoliant herbicides.

Since all Monarch caterpillars live on milkweed, a decline in that species would be devastating.

How will we protect the butterflies?  What will happen if we don’t?

Global bee decline


Biologists design method to monitor global bee decline.

Thirty-five percent of the global food supply depends on bees and other pollinators, including crops worth nearly $200 billion each year.

So its really important to make sure bees populations stay healthy.  Unfortunately, populations seem to be in sharp decline across the United States.

…the annual “Great Sunflower Project,” in which 100,000 citizen scientists across North America volunteer to count bee populations in their own backyards. The project, now in its fifth year, recently found low numbers of bees in urban areas across America, adding weight to the theory that habitat loss is one of the primary reasons for sharp population declines.

Decline Of The Asian Family

Decline Of The Asian Family: Drop In Births Threatens Economic Ascendancy |

In the last half century, East Asia emerged as the uber-performer on the global economic stage. The various countries in the region found success with substantially different systems: state-led capitalism in South Korea, Singapore and Japan; wild and wooly, competitive, entrepreneur-led growth in Taiwan and Hong Kong; and more recently, what Deng Xiaoping once described as “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

But that will definitely change as the population of the region declines.  How will these nations face the future?  And what will that future be like?

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