Gully erosion attracts increasing attention from scientists as reflected by two recent international meetings [Poesen and Valentin (Eds.), Catena 50 (2-4), 87-564; Li et al., 2004. Gully Erosion Under Global Change. Sichuan Science Technology Press, Chengu, China, 354 pp.]. This growing interest is associated with the increasing concern over off-site impacts caused by soil erosion at larger spatial scales than the Cultivated plots. The objective of this paper is to review recent studies on impacts, factors and control of gully erosion and update the review on 'gully erosion and environmental change: importance and research needs' [Poesen et al., 2003. Catena. 50 (2-4), 91-134.]. For the farmers, the development of gullies leads to a loss of crop yields and available land as well as an increase of workload (i.e. labour necessary to cultivate the land). Gullies can also change the mosaic patterns between fallow and cultivated fields, enhancing hillslope erosion in a feedback loop. In addition, gullies tend to enhance drainage and accelerate aridification processes in the semi-arid zones. Fingerprinting the origin of sediments within catchments to determine the relative contributions of potential sediment sources has become essential to identify sources of potential pollution and to develop management strategies to combat soil erosion. In this respect, tracers such as carbon, nitrogen, the nuclear bomb-derived radionuclide 137 Cs, magnetics and the strontium isotopic ratio are increasingly used to fingerprint sediment. Recent studies conducted in Australia, China, Ethiopia and USA showed that the major part of the sediment in reservoirs might have come from gully erosion.