Land cover change can lead to slope instability by accelerating erosive processes associated with agriculture, forestry, and infrastructure. The Rio Chiquito-Barranca del Muerto subbasin has experienced an increase in land cover change due to government programs and the establishment of agricultural and urban areas. The aim of this study was to provide a model to map the susceptibility to gravitational processes along sites where anthropogenic land cover change has occurred. The method was based on the stratification of the subbasin according to landforms and cartographic variables. These variables were used in a multi-criteria assessment to assign weights according to their contribution to the onset of new gravitational processes. Those weights were used to create a susceptibility map based on a weighted linear sum. The accuracy of the resulting map was validated in an error matrix with a random stratified design based on susceptibility classes per landform. The results produced a map of areas with susceptibility to gravitational processes due to land cover change; this susceptibility is very high in the undifferentiated pyroclastic slope and limestone mountain, where it derives not only from anthropogenic effects on natural vegetation cover, but also from steep slopes, weathered materials, low apparent density, high erosivity, and previous gravitational processes. The results support other studies that concluded that loss of vegetation is a triggering factor in the formation of gravitational processes, but also show that excessive reforestation can increase gravitational processes.
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This project was made possible thanks to PAPIIT IN102115 project, program Basic Science SEP-CONACYT (167495), CONACYT scholarship program (328294) and Postgraduate Program in Geography, UNAM. We are also grateful to the Geospatial Analysis Laboratory at the Institute of Geography, UNAM, for SPOT satellite imagery. To Dr. Ann Grant, María Elena Sánchez-Salazar, Felipe Campos-Cerda and Luis Barba-Escoto for assistance with the translation of this work. Finally, to the reviewers of the journal for their wise comments that contributed to the significant improvement of this work.
Electronic supplementary material: Supplementary material (Appendix 1) is available in the online version of this article at https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-016-4268-9.
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Alanís-Anaya, R.M., Legorreta-Paulín, G., Mas, J.F. et al. Susceptibility to gravitational processes due to land cover change in the Río Chiquito-Barranca del Muerto subbasin (Pico De Orizaba Volcano, México). J. Mt. Sci. 14, 2511–2526 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-016-4268-9
- Gravitational processes susceptibility
- Land cover change
- Multi-criteria assessment
- Pico de Orizaba volcano