"Of course it is good news that the forest area occupied by monarchs this season increased," Omar Vidal, head of the World Wildlife Fund in Mexico, told the Guardian. "But let's be crystal clear, 1.13 hectares [2.79 acres] is very, very low, and it is still the second-smallest forest surface occupied by this butterfly in 22 years of monitoring."
When looking at the monarch's historic range, the increase is less impressive. In 1996, the butterflies covered more than 44.5 acres in the same region. Extreme weather and drought can kill large populations of monarchs, while the loss of milkweed, the insect's main food source, to croplands hurts their chances for survival.
See this page for information on how to help harbor monarchs so they can make it to their warm wintering grounds in Mexico.