Tlalpan

Tlalpan

[tlahl-pahn]
Tlalpan is the largest of the 16 delegaciones (boroughs) into which Mexico's Federal District (Mexico City) is divided. Tlalpan is home of Ajusco, a volcanic mountain peak and National Park, one of the highest mountains in Mexico City.

Miguel Hidalgo, Fuentes Brotantes, Pedregal de San Nicolás, Héroes de Padierna, San Pedro Mártir, San Andrés Totoltepec, Lomas de Padierna, San Miguel Ajusco, San Miguel Topilejo, Villa Coapa, Niño Jesús, Jardines en la Montaña, Miguel Hidalgo, Santa Úrsula Xitla and Pedregal de San Nicolás are some of the "colonias" (neighborhoods) into which Tlalpan is divided. In Tlalpan the main indigenous language was Nahuatl, but nowadays, due to the cultural development and expansion of Mexico City, which has forced out most farming activity and indigenous settlements, it is spoken only by some indigenous communities living outside and inside Mexico City, on the one hand, and by some other people interested in studying/speaking the language, on the other.

Geography and Climate

Tlalpan is located in the southwest of the Federal District; to the North it borders Coyoacán borough; to the South the state of Morelos (municipality of Huitzilac) and the State of Mexico (municipality of Santiago Tianguistenco). To the East the boroughs of Xochimilco and Milpa Alta; and to the West the borough of Magdalena Contreras and the Municipality of Xalatlaco (state of Mexico). There are 23 kilometers between the Mexico City downtown (specifically the Zocalo) and the borough of Tlalpan. The median altitude of the populated portions of the borough is 2,270 meters above sea level.

Hydrography: Tlalpan has regions, basins and sub-basins that provide it with water. The hydrographic network of this place is made up by streams of seasonal character, that generally, run through short paths and disappear in areas with a higher degree of permeability. According to the INEGI, 1% of the boroughs surface is supplied by the Rio Lerma-Toluca basin; 27% by the Balsas-Mezcala river basin; 31.3% by the Balsas-Zirándaro region and 69% of the surface is supplied by the basin of the Moctezuma river.

Currently there are river beds that once were important rivers, such as the San Buenaventura and San Juan de Dios. The nourishing fountain of the first, that runs from West to East and flows into Xochimilco Lake, by Tomatlan and heads to Mexico City with the name of La Viga canal. The second, goes from South to North and unites with a tributary river that descends from the Pedregal's Xitle volcano.

Near the town of Parres, there runs the same named river, which has its birth in a foothill of the Cerro Caldera El Guarda, to which all other rain streams of the Oyameyo mountain unite, flowing finally in the San Lucas Sochimanca dam, in Xochimilco.

It is important to remark the importance of the Eslava river, as natural boundary between the boroughs of Tlalpan and Magdalena Contreras, with a fixed bed and intermittent flow.

Climate and temperature

Currently, the borough of Tlalpan has registered in the Carta de Climas of the INEGI 5 types or subtypes of climates, which are explained in the following way: 32.2% of the borough's surface has a subhumid temperate climate with summer rains, with great humidity; 6.39% has a subhumid temperate climate with summer rains with moderate humidity; 0.33% as a subhumid temperate climate with summer rains and lowest humidity; the semicold wet atmosphere with abundant summer rainfall is located over 17.17% of the borough's area, and lastly, 43.79% of the region as a subhumid semicold climate with summer rains, with even higher humidity than the previous type.

Thus the climate varies from temperate subhumid in the North to semicold subhumid as altitude increases towards the South; until becoming semicold humid in the highest regions. The median temperatures in the lower parts of Tlalpan range between 10°C and 12°C (50 to 54°F). On the other hand the higher regions fail to reach 8°C (46°F) of median temperature. The average annual precipitation ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 mm; the highest occurring in the South. The warmest months are April and May; the wettest July through September.

The following climate charts show three different variations of the local climate. Santa Ursula Coapa is the warmest, not only for it being the lowest region of the borough but also because of it being the most built up area. It is also the driest with 817.1 mm. The median temperature is 17.2. This region has reached the warmest temperatures of the borough, in the mid-30's Celsius (90-95 Degrees Fahrenheit) though the record lowest temperatures for the area are relatively warm at -3°C (27°F). However the real coolest temperatures have occurred in higher and less built up areas, with readings reaching -9°C (15 Fahrenheit), but with a warmest ever temperature of around 30°C (upper 80s Fahrnheit). Places with this cooler climate are such as at 2,990 meters at the kilometer 35 to Cuernavaca, or at 2,839 meters at the Ajusco station. It is noteworthy to say that the highest regions, completely uninhabited, have an even cooler climate and thus are capable of snowfall a few times a year.

Flora and Fauna

The middle regions of the Ajusco mountains is considered as one of the wealthiest in the Mexico basin in terms of flora. It holds around 1,000 identified plant species, in only 80 km² of land surface; this wealth is given by the convergence of different factors, such as:

-The great altitudinal gradient, ranging from about 2,400 to 3,000 meters above sea level, which has a climatic effect within the Park. -The structural nature of the lava flows, that causes a great variety of micro habitats. -The intersection of two biogeographic zones of the Continent: the Neartic and the Neotropical

The vegetation types of the middle regions of the Ajusco have been summarized as follows:

Subtropical Bush, desertic bush: Occupying the lower regions up to 2,500 meters above sea level, making up an ecotone with the esclorophile temperate Bush. It is characterized by the presence of "palo bobo", "palo dulce", "sena" and a great variety of arbustive and herbaceous elements. It is a community that presents an important number of endemisms. It is estimated that is floristic grouping includes above 319 different species.

Esclerophile Temperate Bush, desertic bush: This bush is typical of the ecotonic zones of subhimid-arid climate, that runs from California through Chiapas in an isolated way and is known as Chaparral. The predominant species is the oak, that in deep soil conditions develops a height of more than 20 meters; but that occurring only over lava reaches the size of a mere 3 meters. This community adds up to 166 of the total species registered in the zone.

The vegetation of the Pedregal is constituted mainly by the so called "palo loco", which is a variety of a heterogeneous bush with differences in its floral composition. The introduced Brazilian pepper tree can also be found, as well as oaks and various hard wood species. Also pine trees, in the South and Southeast of the Xitle and the upper regions of the Ajusco. Lastly there are varieties of ocote (a pine tree), jacalote, oyamel (fir) and aile (alder)

Also we foun the flora of the mountain region, in which we can find coniferous forests and diverese species of cedars. In terms of trees it is made up by the madrone, "cuchara" and huejote.

At the top of mountains and hills, together with pines and firs, there grows a large variety of ferns and mosses. In the surface of the soil in the pine growing regions, there is a nutritious herbacious cover, that defends the soil against the erosion of the land. Tall grass grows abudantly: "mouse tail" zacatón, zacuyamaque, white zacate, "bromm grass", and yellow grass. Between the bushes green jarilla, limoncillo, zarzal, escoba or perlilla, chia, hediondilla and mejorana grow.

Fauna:

It is estimated that the forested lands of Tlalpan constitute some of the last refugees for wildlife in the Federal District, and according the National Biodiversity Committee, are amongst some sort of state of danger, because of the alteration that such ecosystems have suffered due to urban expansion and illegal hunting.

In danger of extinction there inhabit the following species: teporingo or volcano rabbit, armadillo, huilota doves, white tailed deer, coyote, wild cat, white winged dove and various species of serpents.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico and the National Committee for Fauna have made technical studies for the reproduction of native species in the area, specially the teporingo, squirrels, opposum, castilla rabbits, fox, eagles, sparrow, lark, woodpecker, butterflies, insects and some reptiles such as coralillo or rattlesnakes. This last ones mainly in the ravines of the Ajusco.

Population

Tlalpan holds the 5th place amongst the boroughs of Mexico City and represents 6.76% of its total population.

Men: 278,570 (47.96%) Women: 302,206 (52.04%) Total: 580,776 (100%)

Culture and Entertainment

Six Flags Mexico is located inside Tlalpan (Carretera Picacho-Ajusco). Inside Bosque de Tlalpan is "La Casa de la Cultura" (House of Culture), a museum and theater where different cultural shows and exhibits are continuously presented. The world's largest Mexican restaurant, Restaurante Arroyo, is located in Tlalpan.

Outdoor Recreation

Bosque de Tlalpan features many jogging and hiking trails, as well as numerous newly-constructed picnic shelters throughout this beautiful forest. Spring-time blankets the forest floor with dozens of varieties of colourful wildflowers.

Higher Education

The Universidad Intercontinental (UIC), a large private university is in the heart of Tlalpan. It has around 5,000 students.

Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus Ciudad de Mexico (Monterrey's Technology Institute, Mexico City Campus), a large private university, is located inside Tlalpan. It has around 12,000 students.

U.P.N., the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, is located in Tlalpan's north-west section on Blvd Picacho al Ajusco (Picacho Boulevard to Ajusco), next to El Colegio de Mexico. UPN is the country's national university for training teachers, and has more than 50 campuses nationwide; this campus in Mexico City is UPN's largest, with over 25,000 students. It is currently in the process of being separated from S.E.P. and becoming autonomous.

El Colegio de México (Colmex) was created during presidential period of Lázaro Cárdenas del Río (1934-1940), as a way to offer a thankful answer to all those Spanish intellectuals who came into the country during Spain's civil war. It was created on October 8 1940 by the Federal Government, the Bank of Mexico, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Economic Culture Fund (FCE), with the purpose of doing research on social sciences and humanities, offering higher education (undergraduate and postgraduate levels), issuing books and journals about several subjects and working along with other national and international academic institutions. The main specialty fields at Colmex (offered with a scholarship, which helps students to work full-time during their studies) are currently: history, linguistics, literature, translation, international studies, public administration, population, sociology, economy, Asian and African studies, demography, city planning studies, environmental studies, and studies on women. That thankful answer was generated on both sides: a lot of Spanish scientists and thinkers offered their abilities and work at "La Casa de España" ("The House of Spain," as Colmex was initially called) as professors and researchers. Alfonso Reyes and Daniel Cosío Villegas were the first two deans of El Colegio de México.

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