History of the Region
The monarch butterfly overwintering area is made of what is commonly called "ejido land". The residents of this land, the ejidatarios, struggled for generations to own their own land. Article 27 of the 1917 Constitution finally established a system to support communal land ownership and control. These land sharing groups are called ejidos and indigenous communities. They have a full set of land tenure laws. These unique communities characterize the monarch region in Mexico.

Since 1980, the nature reserve in the Monarch Region has been redefined 3 times. The most well known being the 1986 set-up of four monarch ‘sanctuaries’ or protected areas. The goal was to preserve the monarch habitat in the oyamel forests where the butterfly was known to overwinter. The current reserve is an adaptation on this 1986 decree; instead of four separate sanctuaries, it is contiguous and includes most of the known biologically sensitive areas within its boundaries.

Engaging local community members, the Mexican government, in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza (FMCN), ratified the reserve as we know it today. Called the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, it outlaws logging in the Core Zone and covers over 139,000 acres of mountainous pine and oyamel forest.