The Importance of Being Ernesto
In an effort to protect the winter nesting grounds of monarch butterflies, Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo expanded a forest reserve in central Mexico yesterday. Local residents and giant logging companies have been cutting down lots of trees in the area, and a recent study indicated that 44 percent of the monarchs’ winter habitat had been damaged or destroyed in the past 29 years. The Mexican government has teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund and the Mexican Fund for Natural Conservation to establish a $5 million fund to compensate the reserve’s 60,000 inhabitants for their lost logging rights. Zedillo said, “We trust our neighbors to the north will be able to redouble their efforts to protect the monarch butterflies’ route,” which could be interpreted as criticism of widespread planting in the U.S. of genetically modified corn suspected of harming monarchs.