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Butterfly Gardeners can Change the World

Articles: Butterfly Gardeners can Change the World

Zebra heliconian (Heliconius charithonia). Photo: Kenneth Setzer

[sidebar]Taken from Gardening for Butterflies ©2016 by The Xerces Society. All rights reserved. Published by Timber Press, Portland, Oregon. Used by permission of the publisher.[/sidebar]

A global assessment of wildlife populations in 2014 released by the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) found that the sheer number of vertebrates on earth had declined by more than 50 percent since 1970. While the ZSL report did not assess insect populations, irrefutable evidence of their decline and clear examples of insect extinctions can be found. Many of the rare insects have always been rare, but now once-common insects are becoming rare as well. The most striking example of this is the iconic monarch butterfly, whose population has declined by 80 percent across North America since monitoring efforts began in the mid-1990s.

Loss and degradation of habitat is driving this disappearing act. Urban landscapes divide up, pave over, and fragment formerly green spaces. Agriculture favors fewer types of crops, leaves fewer...

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Voices of the West; New Science on Life in the Garden by Frederique Lavoipierre

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