Summary

Gullies are permanent erosional forms that develop in many parts of the world, particularly in arid and semi-arid environments. Gullies function as sediment sources, stores, and conveyors that link hillslopes to downstream channels. Human land use, and especially changes in land use, may accelerate gully expansion by head cutting, sidewall collapse, piping, floor erosion, and other processes, which lead to widespread land degradation and potential damage to human structures and activities.

The results achieved with small-format aerial photography for monitoring gully erosion continue to demonstrate that SFAP can be considered an advantageous alternative to field methods or conventional aerial photography. Change quantification based on the detailed maps and DEMs provides additional information on the differences in headcut retreat behavior which cannot be described by simple linear measures, and the spatially continuous survey of the entire form offers the possibility of distinguishing different zones and processes of activity both at the gully rim and within the gully interior. In addition, more than any other measurement method, photographic capture of a transient situation allows for retrospective interpretation of the spatial processes leading to the actual gully form, and new parameters of interest may be derived even years after the survey, owing to the spatial continuity and sample density of the SFAP inventory of a site.

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