Controls on the development of continuous gullies: a 60 year monitoring study in the Moldavian Plateau of Romania
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AbstractGully erosion is a major environmental threat on the Moldavian Plateau (MP) of eastern Romania. The permanent gully systems consist of two main gully types. These are: (1) discontinuous gullies, which are mostly located on hillslopes and (2) large continuous gullies in valley bottoms. Very few studies have investigated the evolution of continuous gullies over the medium to longer term. The main objective of this study was to quantitatively analyse the development of continuous gullies over six decades (1961-2020). The paper aimed at predicting temporal patterns of gully head erosion based on field data from multiple gullies. Fourteen representative continuous gullies were selected near the town of Barlad, most of them having catchment areas <500 ha. Linear gully head retreat (LGHR) and areal gully growth (AGG) rates were quantified for six decades. Two main periods were distinguished and compared (i.e. the wet 1961-1980 period and the drier 1981-2020 period). Results indicate that gully erosion rates have significantly decreased since 1981. The mean LGHR of 7.7 m yr-1 over 60 years was accompanied by a mean AGG of 213 m2 yr-1. However, erosion rates between 1961-1980 were 4.0 times larger for LGHR and 5.9 times more for AGG compared to those for 1981-2020. Two regression models indicate that annual precipitation (P) is the primary controlling factor, explaining 57% of LGHR and 53% of AGG rate. The contributing area (CA) follows, with ~33%. Only 43% of total change in LGHR and 46% of total change in AGG results from rainfall-induced runoff during the warm season. Accordingly, the cold season (with associated freeze-thaw processes and snowmelt runoff) has more impact on gully development. The runoff pattern, when flow enters the trunk gully head, is largely controlled by the upper approaching discontinuous gully.
CitationIonita, I., Niacsu, L., Poesen, J. & Fullen, M.A. (2021) Controls on the development of continuous gullies: A 60 year monitoring study in the Moldavian Plateau of Romania. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 46 ( 13), pp. 2746– 2763. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.520418
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Description© 2021 The Authors. Published by Wiley. This is an open access article available under a Creative Commons licence. The published version can be accessed at the following link on the publisher’s website: https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.5204
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/