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Modelling Research Topic Trends in Community Forestry

Clare, Stephen M., Hickey, Gordon M.
Small-scale forestry 2019 v.18 no.2 pp. 149-163
bibliometric analysis, carbon sequestration, community forestry, models, policy analysis, Africa, Latin America, South Asia, South East Asia
How is community forestry (CF) research changing as CF policies mature around the world? In this research note we use bibliometrics and topic modelling to display trends in the geographic foci and research topics mentioned in the abstracts of CF-related research papers published between 1990 and 2017. We find that studies of CF in South Asia make up a substantial proportion of the literature, although CF research in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America has also developed. Using a structural topic model, we identify four major research areas and 20 topics latent in the text of the abstracts analyzed. The trends of topic proportions over time offer evidence of a shift in research focus from broad policy analysis to local outcomes and growing interest in carbon sequestration. Results identify the most prominent CF research topics and demonstrate the potential of topic models to analyze large amounts of scientific literature.