Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 414–430 | Cite as

Landform instability and land-use dynamics in tropical high mountains, Central Mexico

  • Arturo García-RomeroEmail author
  • José Fernando Aceves-Quesada
  • Carlos Arredondo-León


This investigation is an analysis of the influence of landform instability on the distribution of land-use dynamics in a hydrographical basin, located in the Mexican Volcanic Belt mountain range (central Mexico), currently affected by substantial changes in land use and deforestation. A landform map was produced, in addition to seven attribute maps — altimetry, drainage density, slope, relief energy, potential erosion, geology and tectonics — which were considered as factors for determining landform instability through Multi-criteria Evaluation Analysis. Likewise, the direction and rhythm of land-use dynamics were analyzed in four dates — between 1976 and 2000 — and cross tabulations were made between them, in order to analyze the trends and processes of land-use dynamics. Afterwards, the databases obtained were cross tabulated with the landform variables to derive areas, percentages and correlation indices. In the study area, high-instability landforms are associated with most ancient volcanic and sedimentary landforms, where high altitude, drainage density, slope and potential to develop gravitational and fluvial processes are the major factors favouring a land-use pattern, dominated by the conservation of extensive forest land, abandonment of human land use and regeneration of disturbed areas. In contrast, low-instability landforms correspond to alluvial plains and lava hills covered by pyroclasts, where low potential erosion to develop fluvial processes, added to water and soil availability and accessibility, have favoured a land-use pattern dominated by the expansion of agroforestry plantations and human settlements, showing a marked trend towards either intensification or permanence of the current land use and with little abandonment and regeneration.


Landform instability Multi-criteria Evaluation Analysis Land-use change and processes Tuxpan River Basin 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arturo García-Romero
    • 1
    Email author
  • José Fernando Aceves-Quesada
    • 1
  • Carlos Arredondo-León
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Geografía Física, Instituto de GeografíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico, Distrito FederalMexico
  2. 2.Unidad Académica de Estudios Regionales de la Coordinación de HumanidadesUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMéxicoMéxico

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