A trans-national monarch butterfly population model and implications for regional conservation priorities

TitleA trans-national monarch butterfly population model and implications for regional conservation priorities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsOberhauser K., Wiederholt R., Diffendorfer J.E, Semmens D., Ries L., Thogmartin W.E, Lopez-Hoffman L., Semmens B.
JournalEcological Entomology
Date Published2017/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0307-6946
Accession NumberWOS:000392427600006
KeywordsBayesian stage-based matrix model; conservation prioritisation; danaidae; Danaus; decline; lepidoptera; management strategies; mexico; patterns; plexippus; population dynamics; trends

1. The monarch has undergone considerable population declines over the past decade, and the governments of Mexico, Canada, and the United States have agreed to work together to conserve the species. 2. Given limited resources, understanding where to focus conservation action is key for widespread species like monarchs. To support planning for continental-scale monarch habitat restoration, we address the question of where restoration efforts are likely to have the largest impacts on monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippusLinn.) population growth rates. 3. We present a spatially explicit demographic model simulating the multi-generational annual cycle of the eastern monarch population, and use the model to examine management scenarios, some of which focus on particular regions of North America. 4. Improving the monarch habitat in the north central or southern parts of the monarch range yields a slightly greater increase in the population growth rate than restoration in other regions. However, combining restoration efforts across multiple regions yields population growth rates above 1 with smaller simulated improvements in habitat per region than single-region strategies. 5. Synthesis and applications:These findings suggest that conservation investment in projects across the full monarch range will be more effective than focusing on one or a few regions, and will require international cooperation across many land use categories.

Short TitleEcol. Entomol.
Student Publication: 
Research Topics: