Erozja wąwozowa zapisana w odsłanianych korzeniach drzew na Wysoczyźnie Proboszczowickiej pod Górą św. Anny

Ireneusz Malik


Gully erosion recorded in anatomical changes in exposed roots in permanent gullies (southern Poland).
Summary. Erosion occurs in permanent gullies cutting into the undulating loess plateau in southern Poland. The gully slopes are mainly vegetated with beech trees as opposed to the surface of the plateau summit, which is cultivated agricultural land, devoid of forests for at least 18 centuries [od 18 wieków czy od XVIII wieku – czyli “since 1700s”?]. Beech roots are exposed in the gullies through erosion. Wood cells in the tree rings divide into early wood and late wood and, after the roots are exposed, also start to make fewer cells. In the roots on the border between exposed and unexposed tree rings in the tree roots, scars sometimes occur. This is an effect produced by corrasion by dolomites and limestones lying under the loess cover and re-deposition of building material stored by people in the higher part of the gullies. These anatomical changes in root tree rings allow one to date erosion episodes. Dating of the exposure of roots indicates that intensive erosion took place in the gullies starting in the 1980s. Since that time, numerous extreme rainfall events responsible for initiating erosion have also occurred. They contribute to deepening valleys causing new incisions to develop on hillslopes and headcut retreat in upper parts of the valleys studied at the Wysoczyna Proboszczowicka near Góra św. Anny. The bottom of the valley head eroded during extreme rainfall events in 1984 and 1991. Erosion here alternates with deposition, its speed being relatively small. Incisions in hill slopes retreated during the flood in 1997, but they originated during earlier rainfall episodes. Such incisions retreat 2.5–3 m/year, i.e., relatively fast.

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