Forest & Watershed Restoration Activities

At Forests for Monarchs, we reforest land around the monarch butterfly habitat in the mountains of Michoacán and Mexico State, as well as in the Highland Lakes watershed area (Lake  Pátzcuaro and Lake Zirahuen) and the Uruapan avocado farming areas.

Seed Collection

Before we can donate tree seedlings, we start with seed collection. Our tree nursery team collects the native tree seeds each year by hand. The native trees we plant -- Abies religiosa ("oyamel fir"), Pinus pseudostrobus ("smooth-bark Mexican pine" or "pseudostrobus pine"), Pinus montezumae ("rough-branched pine" or "Montezuma pine"), Pinus michoacana ("Michoacan pine") and Cupressus lindleyii (a cypress tree, commonly known as "white cedar") -- shed their seeds yearly and these non-GMO seeds are collected by local community members.


The seeds are planted in our greenhouses within raised garden beds where they grow into small seedlings. Once at this stage, they are transplanted into individual plant containers, where they will grow to about six to eight inches. At around 12” in height they are ready to be transferred into individual transportation containers and are ready for donation.

Distributing Trees for Planting

All of our seedlings are donated to communities and landowners who are committed to reforestation. Large numbers of trees are planted on communal lands owned by indigenous communities and ejidos. With help from volunteers and communities who are committed to reforestation, we are able to assist in the planting of the seedlings. Each year the demand for trees to plant exceeds the number we are able to give away.


After planting, we monitor the health and survival rate of the trees, conditions of the land and the sustainability practices of the landowners and communities.