Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán

From Deserts to Clouds

David Yetman (Author), Alberto Búrquez (Author)
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Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán: From Deserts to Clouds provides an accessible and photographic view of the culture, history, and environment of an extraordinary region of southern Mexico. The Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán are lauded by botanists for their spectacular plant life—they contain the densest columnar cacti forests in the world. Recent archaeological excavations reveal them also to be a formative Mesoamerican site as well. So singular is this region that it is home to the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Through firsthand experience and engaging prose, the authors provide a synthesis of the geology, ecology, history, and cultures of the valleys, showing their importance and influence as Mesoamerican arteries for environmental and cultural interchange through Mexico. It also reveals the extraordinary plant life that draws from habitats ranging from deserts to tropical forests.

The authors, both experts in their respective fields, begin with a general description of the geography of the valleys, followed by an introduction to climate and hydrology, a look at the valleys’ often bewildering geology. The book delves into cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the valleys and discusses archaeological sites that that encapsulate the valleys’ fascinating history prior to the arrival of Europeans. The book concludes by describing the flora that makes the region so singular.
“David Yetman and Alberto Búrquez combine multidisciplinary credentials and command of scholarly traditions in both the United States and Mexico to reveal the bridging role of the adjoining Tehuacán and Cuicatlán Valleys as a strategic corridor of biocultural interchange between two major groupings of Mexico’s biogeographical ecozones and physiographic regions.”—Suzanne K. Fish, professor emerita, University of Arizona

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