The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve lies within forested mountains about 100 km northwest of Mexico City. It was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 2008.
Every year hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies undertake a great journey of up to 3000 miles in their annual migration from Canada and the United States to their wintering grounds in Mexico. Once in Mexico, the monarchs congregate in the oyamel fir trees of Michoacan and Mexico states.
Within the Biosphere Reserve, there are a few areas that are open to the public. Visiting the monarch butterfly reserves offers the visitor a chance to witness a wonder of nature. Being surrounded by thousands of fluttering butterflies and seeing them carpeting the forest floor and weighing down the branches of the trees is truly a remarkable experience.
The property includes more than half of the overwintering colonies of the monarch butterfly’s eastern population. They provide a good sample of the areas that are essential for maintaining this superlative natural phenomenon. Public use has been increasing and the levels of visitation and quality of experience provided require careful control both in relation to impacts on the ecosystem and the quality of experience provided by the property to visitors.
The principal focus of protection and management should be to prevent illegal logging in the property. Priorities to achieve this include concerted planning and action between all relevant federal, state and local agencies, and work with local communities on environmental protection and the provision of alternative livelihoods to logging.