What is a gully?
Whenever you look at a satellite map of Barbados, the one thing that sticks out are the dark green gullies, which look like rivers stretching across the island.
Gullies are trenches in the ground carved by fast running water over time and are characterised by being heavily wooded, generally dry but have flowing water in times of heavy rainfall and being anywhere from 6 metres to more than 30 metres deep. They are located in nearly every parish, but begin in the central highland areas and spread out towards the coastline.
Importance of gullies
Gullies are important for many reasons including:
- They serve as drainage channels for the flow of water from high areas to the coast.
- Serve as a home for important native plants and animals.
- They have been used as a means of transportation as a shortcut between villages.
- They have resources for handicrafts and traditional medicines.
- Can be used for tourism, recreation and exercise such as hiking.
- Holding soil in place and reducing erosion.
- Scientific research and education.
Threats to Gullies
- Illegal dumping of solid and liquid wastes.
- Chemical runoff from agriculture and industry.
- Deforestation and debushing which can cause soil erosion and flooding downstream.
- Invasive plant and animal species