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Evolution of the field of ecological restoration over the last three decades: a bibliometric analysis

Guan, Yingjie, Kang, Ruipeng, Liu, Junguo
Restoration ecology 2019 v.27 no.3 pp. 647-660
bibliometric analysis, biodiversity, climate change, databases, ecological restoration, ecosystem services, ecosystems, forests, grasslands, quantitative analysis, social sciences, wetlands, China, United States
Ecological restoration studies have been widely conducted for many years to solve eco‐environmental problems. However, no publications offer a systematic and quantitative analysis of the evolution of the field of ecological restoration. To address this knowledge gap, for the first time, we applied a bibliometric analysis approach to analyze ecological restoration studies. We analyzed 3,929 articles published between 1988 and 2017 catalogued in the Science Citation Index Expanded database and the Social Sciences Citation Index database. The results show that annual article output stably increased after 2004, and the number of annual articles of each country has also increased notably since then. The United States occupies the leading position in ecological restoration studies, with China attaining a close second position in recent years. Four institutions and seven journals are outstanding in the field of ecological restoration. Academic collaborations of authors or institutions exhibit an increasing trend, but international collaboration needs to be strengthened because eco‐environmental problems are a global challenge. Forest, grassland, and wetland ecosystems have received the most attention. Biodiversity, ecosystem services, and climate change are core issues of ecological restoration studies and are predicted to remain the research hotspots in the future. Novel ecosystems are likely to become one of the most important research areas in the near future. More importantly, it is crucial for researchers to places more emphasis on social issues of ecological restoration in the future.