10th International Conference on Geomorphology
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Can piping erosion impact environment and society? Identifying new research gaps

Anita Bernatek-Jakiel1 and Estela Nadal-Romero2
Anita Bernatek-Jakiel and Estela Nadal-Romero
  • 1Jagiellonian University, Faculty of Geography and Geology, Institute of Geography and Spatial Management, Krakow, Poland (anita.bernatek@uj.edu.pl)
  • 2Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, IPE-CSIC, Zaragoza, Spain (estelanr@ipe.csic.es)

Soil erosion is one of the hillslope processes that receives considerable attention by geomorphologists. Recently, also subsurface erosion by soil piping has become increasingly recognized. So far, the studies have been focused on the importance of soil piping in hydrological and geomorphological processes, and factors controlling piping processes. Nowadays, the Anthropocene brings the environmental changes and society depends on soil more than ever before, so the traditional studies of soil erosion processes need to be redefined. We identify new possible areas of research: (i) soil pipes and pipe collapses (PCs) as natural hazards, (ii) role of soil piping in carbon cycle, (iii) soil pipes and PCs and their relationships with biodiversity, and (iv) piping–affected areas as geodiversity sites. Natural hazards driven by soil piping are land subsidence and degradation, landslides, flooding and off-site sediment effects. Their better recognition will be a step towards better prevention and control measures in piping-affected areas. Moreover, in the context of the Global Change, soil loss due to piping may lead to carbon loss as piping dynamics is affected both by land use and land cover changes as well as climate change. Soil pipes and PCs are closely interlinked with biodiversity, both positively and negatively. On the one hand, piping erosion may directly and indirectly destroy vegetation and animals. On the other hand, in some cases it may create new habitats and provide favourable conditions for some species. Interestingly, we can see piping erosion as the contributor to the world geodiversity, which is clearly observed in badland sites. Summarizing, piping erosion may have a significant impact on environment and society, so this is a time to address and discuss new questions in erosion studies.

The research has been supported by a grant from the Priority Research Area “Anthropocene” under the Strategic Programme Excellence Initiative at the Jagiellonian University and by the Spanish MANMOUNT (PID2019-105983RB-100/AEI/10.13039/501100011033) project funded by the MICINN-FEDER.

How to cite: Bernatek-Jakiel, A. and Nadal-Romero, E.: Can piping erosion impact environment and society? Identifying new research gaps, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-464, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-464, 2022.