Megan E. Zagorski '16, Gettysburg College
Student Research Paper
Date of Creation
Latin American Studies
The annual migration of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a natural phenomenon widely integrated into the popular and social imagination of North America. However, this migratory population has recently declined. I investigated the threat of climate change on the future distribution of suitable monarch habitat, using ArcGIS to create a model of current and future monarch habitat. I also analyzed municipal data for 5 communities in Mexico State in an examination of the social aspects of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve [MBBR]. According to my model, an estimated 38.6% to 69.8% of current monarch habitat may be lost within the MBBR by 2050, potentially affecting 14 of the 19 current colonies, while throughout the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, 52% to 76% of suitable habitat could disappear. Most members of these 5 communities work in the agriculture and service sectors, and all but one reported a tourist infrastructure. The potentially large losses in suitable habitat question the effectiveness of protected areas in the face of climate change, and suggest the need to develop a more resilient strategy to protect both natural and social aspects of the monarch migration.
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Zagorski, Megan E., "Long Live the King? A GIS Analysis of Climate Change’s Impact on the Future Wintering Range and Economy of the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) in Mexico" (2016). Student Publications. 432.