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A bibliometric analysis of carbon exchange in global drylands

Abstract

Drylands refer to regions with an aridity index lower than 0.65, and billions of people depend on services provided by the critically important ecosystems in these areas. How ecosystem carbon exchange in global drylands (CED) occurs and how climate change affects CED are critical to the global carbon cycle. Here, we performed a comprehensive bibliometric study on the fields of annual publications, marked journals, marked institutions, marked countries, popular keywords, and their temporal evolution to understand the temporal trends of CED research over the past 30 a (1991–2020). We found that the annual scientific publications on CED research increased significantly at an average growth rate of 7.93%. Agricultural Water Management ranked first among all journals and had the most citations. The ten most productive institutions were centered on drylands in America, China, and Australia that had the largest number and most citations of publications on CED research. “Climate change” and climate-related (such as “drought”, “precipitation”, “temperature”, and “rainfall”) research were found to be the most popular study areas. Keywords were classified into five clusters, indicating the five main research focuses on CED studies: hydrological cycle, effects of climate change, carbon and water balance, productivity, and carbon-nitrogen-phosphorous coupling cycles. The temporal evolution of keywords further showed that the areas of focus on CED studies were transformed from classical pedology and agricultural research to applied ecology and then to global change ecological research over the past 30 a. In future CED studies, basic themes (such as “water”, “yield”, and “salinity”) and motor themes (such as “climate change”, “sustainability”, and “remote sensing”) will be the focus of research on CED. In particular, multiple integrated methods to understand climate change and ecosystem sustainability are potential new research trends and hotspots.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFA0600104), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41991234, 31800406), and the International Partnership Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (121311KYSB20170004).

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Correspondence to Zhi Chen.

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Liu, Z., Chen, Z., Yu, G. et al. A bibliometric analysis of carbon exchange in global drylands. J. Arid Land 13, 1089–1102 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-021-0112-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-021-0112-3

Keywords

  • bibliometric analysis
  • drylands
  • carbon exchange
  • climate change
  • arid areas
  • water resources
  • sustainability