Original paper

Gullies as an indicator of human impact on loess landscape (Case study: North Western Part of Lublin Upland, Poland)

Zgłobicki, Wojciech; Baran-Zgłobicka, Bogusława

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to study the relationships between human agricultural activities and gullies in loess-covered areas of Eastern Poland, using the example of NW part of Lublin Upland. A clear connection between the main stages of cultural landscape development and the phases of gully erosion in the North Western (NW) part of Lublin Upland is shown. It is also found that in present times, on a local scale, i.e., within single catchments, gully development is conditioned to a considerable degree by anthropogenic factors such as the kinds of crops and field patterns. Several spatial (cartographic) analyses using GIS software were conducted in the test area of 28 km2 (representing typical loess landscape of NW part of Lublin Upland). The influence of natural factors such as the type of surface deposits and relief on gully development is estimated. The analysis shows that gully development occurred most commonly in areas of moderate slopes (6-12°) appearance. The effect of surface deposit type was not clear on a local scale. The conducted analysis shows that about 1/5 of the gully edges could be subjected to intensive erosion processes (due to land use). The potential threat of gully erosion to existing buildings and the most fertile soils is also examined. About 4.5 % of buildings and 11 % of the area with the best soils occur in the immediate vicinity of gullies (i.e. within 25m from their edges). Relationships between the existing gully network and the changes in forest land cover during the last 100 years are demonstrated. A considerable increase of forest patches near gullies took place in the test area. About 82% of new forest areas grew within 100 m from the edges of gullies.

Keywords

gulliesland usehuman impacte poland