Deforesation in the Monarch Sanctuary Region
Domestic Uses of Wood

Two Burrow-Loads Per Week
According to Ed Raskin of the Michoacan Reforestation Project, a typical family uses 2 burrow-loads of wood per week for firewood alone. One burrow carries a half a cubic meter of wood. This means that a typical family would use some 50 cubic meters of firewood per year. Multiplying this figure by the rural population in the region of 90,000, the equivalent of 40,000 mature oyamel fir trees is needed for firewood.

Reserve-Area Families Receive New Stoves
In response to this demand on the forest, conservation programs have aimed to reduce wood consumption by moving toward alternative stoves.

"It’s not as warm, but it is nice when my husband is feeling lazy about collecting wood," laughed Señora de Jesus about her new government-issued gas stove. "We can cook immediately, we don’t have to wait for the fire."

In Novermber, 2002, the governments of Michoacan and Mexico provided stoves to families who live in the immediate vicinity of the sanctuaries. While the stoves are efficient, the traditional wood stove is hard to give up. The kitchen stove is the only source of heat during the cold winter months at 10,000 feet altitude.

Concerned about the truckloads of wood they see coming down the mountain and passing their store, the Romero family in downtown Angangueo is also trying to cut back on their use of firewood by cooking with gas. "It’s cold, but we’re willing to make the sacrifice," says Estela Romero.

Laura Emila Romero cozy in bed, with her mother, Estela

Alternare Stoves Cut Wood Use by 50%
The Mexican conservation organization "Alternare" works with reserve communities to build energy efficient adobe stoves. Alternare estimates a 50% reduction in wood use with these stoves. In addition, much less indoor smoke is produced, an important health benefit to the family.

No Indoor Heat
Visiting American Family Found Angangueo COLD

Last year, teacher Dave Kust and his family traveled to Mexico with the monarchs during Dave’s sabbatical. They made it through the cold Anagangueo nights in an unheated home thanks to hot water bottles and piles of blankets on the beds. (Katie Kust slept under seven!)

"I quickly began to understand how important this microclimate was for the butteflies," said Dave.

Why No Heat?
Simply put, the cost of heat is too high because incomes in the area are so low. A good and safe gas heater, one that could heat a big room, costs $2,500 pesos. The gas to run the heater costs 25 pesos per day. Visitors to the region never fail to be amazed at the cold conditions under which people live. Temperatures inside the homes, day and night, remain in the 50's!

National Science Education Standards

Life Science
Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms. (K-4)

Science and Technology
Scientists and engineers often work in teams with different individuals doing different things that contribute to the results. (K-4)

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Some resources are basic materials, such as air, water, and soil; some are produced from basic resources, such as food, fuel, and building materials; and some resources are nonmaterial, such as quiet places, beauty, security, and safety. (K-4)

The supply of many resources is limited. If used, resources can be extended through recycling and decreased use. (K-4)

National Geography Standards

Environment and Society
How human actions modify the physical environment.