Navigation Links
The people's choice: Americans would pay to help monarch butterflies
Date:10/28/2013

Americans place high value on butterfly royalty. A recent study suggests they are willing to support monarch butterfly conservation at high levels, up to about 6 billion dollars if extrapolated to all U.S. households.

If even a small percentage of the population acted upon this reported willingness, the cumulative effort would likely translate into a large, untapped potential for conservation of the iconic butterfly.

Monarch butterfly populations have been declining across Mexico, California and other areas of the United States since 1999. A 2012 survey at the wintering grounds of monarchs in Mexico showed the lowest colony size ever recorded.

"The multigenerational migration of the monarch butterfly is considered one of the world's most spectacular natural events," said Jay Diffendorfer, a USGS scientist and the study's lead author. "However, managing migratory species is difficult because they can cross international borders and depend on many geographic areas for survival."

Much of the decline in monarch numbers has been blamed on the loss of milkweed, the native plants on which monarch caterpillars feed.

"While many factors may be affecting monarch numbers, breeding, migrating, and overwintering habitat loss are probably the main culprits," said Karen Oberhauser, a monarch biologist at the University of Minnesota and a co-author of the study. "In the U.S., the growing use of genetically-modified, herbicide-tolerant crops, such as corn and soybeans, has resulted in severe milkweed declines and thus loss of breeding habitat."

The authors suggest that the universal popularity of monarchs could encourage a market for monarch-friendly plants.

"This is the first nation-wide, published, economic valuation survey of the general public for an insect. The study indicates that economic values of monarch butterflies are potentially large enough to mobilize people for conservation planting and funding habitat conservation," said John Loomis, the lead economist on the study from Colorado State University.

"The life cycle of monarchs creates opportunities for untapped market-based conservation approaches," Diffendorfer continued. "Ordinary households, conservation organizations, and natural resource agencies can all plant milkweed and flowering plants to offset ongoing losses in the species' breeding habitat."

According to the annual survey of the National Gardening Association, households that identify as "do-it-yourself lawn and gardeners" spent $29.1 billion in related retail sales in 2012.

"By reallocating some of those purchases to monarch-friendly plants, people would be able to contribute to the conservation of the species as well as maintain a flower garden," said Oberhauser. "Helping restore the monarch's natural habitat, and potentially the species' abundance, is something that people can do at home by planting milkweed and other nectar plants."

Unfortunately, many plants purchased by gardeners have been treated with systemic insecticides that can kill both pollinators that consume the nectar, and caterpillars, like monarchs, that eat the leaves.

"This study shows that not only might consumers pay more for monarch-friendly milkweeds grown without systemic insecticides in the potting soil, but also that consumers might be more interested overall in buying nectar-producing plants or milkweeds if they knew a small percentage of sales will be donated to habitat conservation," said Diffendorfer.

The study, released today in Conservation Letters, was authored by researchers with the USGS, Colorado State University, the University of Minnesota, and others, who participated in a USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis working group.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ethan Alpern
ealpern@usgs.gov
703-648-4406
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study finds peoples niceness may reside in their genes
2. Spatial knowledge vs. spatial choice: The hippocampus as conflict detector?
3. Levels of hepatitis C virus higher among African-Americans and males
4. African Americans less likely to adhere to DASH diet for lowering blood pressure
5. Lack of vitamin D contributes to pain in black Americans with knee osteoarthritis
6. Majority of Americans doubt Congress and White House can avoid fiscal cliff
7. Poll: Americans back climate change regulation, not taxes
8. Autism in black and white: NIH grant helps scientist study disorder in African Americans
9. Older US-born Mexican-Americans more physically limited than Mexican-American immigrants: Study
10. Body mass index of low income African-Americans linked to proximity of fast food restaurants
11. War-related climate change would reduce substantially reduce crop yields
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2016)... NEW YORK , May 16, 2016   ... authentication solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded ... provides an unprecedented level of convenience and security with ... to authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... 2016 Elevay is currently known ... freedom for high net worth professionals seeking travel for ... connected world, there is still no substitute for a ... sealing your deal with a firm handshake. This is ... advantage of citizenship via investment programs like those offered ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India , ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... provider, today announced a global partnership that will ... way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... is a key innovation area for financial services, but it ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Regular discussions on a range of subjects ... the two entities said Poloz. Speaking at a ... , he pointed to the country,s inflation target, which ... "In certain areas ... have common economic goals, why not sit down and address ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering ... retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Md. , June 23, 2016 A person ... from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA ... sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: