Terracing in the Mixteca Alta, Mexico: Cycles of Resilience of an Ancient Land-Use Strategy

Veronica Perez Rodriguez, Kirk C. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Terracing is an important and ubiquitous landscape feature in the Mixteca Alta region of southern Mexico. It is a land-management strategy that has been in use for millennia, perhaps starting around 300 B.C.E. We discuss terracing as an adaptive and resilient strategy of food production and land management that continues to be culturally significant to modern-day farmers. Through the integration of archaeological, geomorphological, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic data we document the history of terracing and discuss how Mixtec communities and terraces have responded to natural and cultural perturbations through millennia. We find that different stages in the history of terracing show parallels with the adaptive cycles of a resilient system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-349
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Agriculture
  • Archaeology
  • Ethnography
  • Ethnohistory
  • Geomorphology
  • Mesoamerica
  • Mexico
  • Mixtec
  • Oaxaca
  • Resilience
  • Terracing
  • Urbanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Anthropology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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