Natural Hazards

, Volume 79, Supplement 1, pp 113–138 | Cite as

Gully development in eastern Romania: a case study from Falciu Hills

  • Ion Ionita
  • Lilian Niacsu
  • Gabriel Petrovici
  • Ana Maria Blebea-Apostu
Original Paper


The gullied systems from the Falciu Hills within the Chioara catchment (2997 ha) consist of both main types of gullies, discontinuous and large continuous ones along valley bottoms, and lots of ephemeral gullies. Several methods have been used to measure and estimate gully characteristics. Then, the gully development stages, the effect of the natural conditions, and especially the impact of land management on gullying in the Falciu Hills over the last two centuries have been defined. In addition, the role of gully erosion in triggering landslides has also been studied. Two main periods have been distinguished (until 1960 and 1961–2012) for assessing major characteristics of land degradation. The results show that total gully area in the Chioara catchment is 66.4 ha excepting for the ephemeral gullies, and areas occupied by gullies from the five study sub-catchments (2334 ha) account for two-thirds. Total length of the main gully network in the entire catchment is 33.2 km from which the five sub-catchments account for 71 %. The mean gully density of 1.11 km km−2 supports the evidence that here gullying is the major environmental threat. Half of the gully areal growth and three-quarters of the new landslide area occurred over the 1961–2012 period. Delayed deforestation peaking during 1830–1930 and land conversion to arable use resulted in severe soil erosion, high aggradation along the non-gullied valley bottoms, and severe gullying. The average gully head retreat rate over the last two centuries from four trunk continuous gullies is 14 m year−1, and the sediment yield from gullying only accounted for 54–69 % of the sediment mass produced by water erosion. The evolution of gullies is linked to major land-use changes in the study area. Despite a decreasing tendency of gullying and catchment area over the last half century, gullying still remains problematically high in East Romania.


Gullying Continuous gullies Deforestation Landslides Sedimentation 



This work was partly supported by a grant from the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNDI–UEFISCDI, Project Number PN-II-PT-PCCA-2011-3.2-0975. The authors thank Professor Michael A. Fullen, from the University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, and Professor Jean Poesen, from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, for kindly reviewing this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ion Ionita
    • 1
  • Lilian Niacsu
    • 1
  • Gabriel Petrovici
    • 2
  • Ana Maria Blebea-Apostu
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Geology and Geography, Department of Geography“Al. I. Cuza” University of IasiIasiRomania
  2. 2.Research and Development Centre for Soil Erosion Control PerieniBarladRomania
  3. 3.“Horia Hulubei” National Institute for Physics and Nuclear EngineeringBucharest – MagureleRomania

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