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Monarch Resources are Declining
Milkweeds and nectar sources are declining due to development and the widespread use of herbicides in croplands, pastures and roadsides. Because 90% of all milkweed/monarch habitats occur within the agricultural landscape, farm practices have the potential to strongly influence monarch populations. Why we are concerned:
• Farm and ranch land is disappearing at rate of nearly 3,000 acres per day. In a 5-year period starting in 1992, 6 million acres of farmland (an area the size of the state of Maryland) were converted to subdivisions, factories, and other developments (www.farmland.org).
• Widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans in the last 5 years has resulted in the loss of at least 80 million acres of monarch habitat.
• Use of herbicides along roadsides continues to reduce milkweeds and nectar plants.
The use of herbicides and frequent mowing along roadsides has converted much of this habitat to grasslands – a habitat generally lacking in food and shelter for wildlife. These habitats constitute 2-4% of the land area throughout the monarch’s summer breeding range. Although some states have started to increase the diversity of plantings along roadsides, including milkweeds, these programs are small.