North American Monarch Conservation Plan - A Continental Approach to Conservation

Canada, Mexico, and the United States have joined to produce the North American Monarch Conservation Plan (NAMCP)(PDF, 3.1 MB), a long-term cooperative agenda to conserve the monarch butterfly and its unique migratory phenomenon. Because the monarch and its migration depend on conservation of habitats in all three countries, this species has become a symbol of our shared environment.

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) released the NAMCP at the CEC Council meeting in Ottawa, Ontario on June 26. The NAMCP focuses on protecting habitat in overwintering sites in Mexico and along the butterfly’s breeding and migration corridors that span North America. The Plan identifies the need for a coordinated program to monitor monarch populations and habitat and provide the data to assess the effectiveness of conservation measures. Plan objectives and actions are linked to existing conservation initiatives in the three countries. The plan is available in English, Spanish, and French at www.cec.org/monarch.

Numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, non-government agencies, citizen scientists, and the scientific community contributed to the development of the NAMCP. The planning effort was initiated at a December 2006 Monarch Flyway Conservation Workshop sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service-International Programs, U.S. Aid for International Development, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Wildlife Trust, and the City of McAllen, Texas. Participants in Mexico’s March 2007 Monarch Butterfly Regional Forum (Foro Regional Mariposa Monarca) and the May 2007 meeting of the Canada/Mexico/United States Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management contributed to development of the plan. Monarch experts from all three countries came together at a December 2007 CEC workshop in Morelia, Mexico to identify and prioritize the plan’s tri-national conservation actions. Dr. Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota served as coordinator and principal editor of the NAMCP.

CEC is an international organization established by the three governments under the 1993 North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). NAAEC complements the environmental provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The CEC Council consists of the Ministers of Environment for Mexico and Canada and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

U.S. Forest Service-International Programs works with managers and partners in the region of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve to build management capacity, to provide guidance to communities for resource management, and to conserve natural resources in the highly protected core zone of reserve.

The Monarch Butterfly Regional Forum, an alliance of federal, state, and local stakeholders in the region of Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, meets annually to coordinate conservation and research priorities.

The Trilateral Committee, headed by the Directors of the Canadian Wildlife Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico (SEMARNAT), was established in 1996 to facilitate and enhance cooperation and coordination among the three countries’ wildlife agencies and interested parties for conservation and management of wildlife, plants, and ecosystems of mutual interest. The NAMCP supports the Trilateral Committee's goal of promoting conservation of biodiversity through transboundary collaboration and builds upon the Committee's project to establish a tri-national monarch butterfly sister sites network.