Charting the research terrain for large old trees: Findings from a quantitative bibliometric examination in the twenty-first century

Chunping XIE, Chang LIU, Dawei LIU, Chi Yung JIM

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Despite their relatively small numbers, large old trees play disproportionately important roles in global biodiversity and ecosystem functions. There is a lack of systematic reviews and quantitative analyses of the accumulated literature. Understanding the research context and evolution could pump prime research and conservation endeavors. Using the comprehensive Web of Science, we applied VOSviewer (1.6.19) and CiteSpace (6.1R2) bibliometric software to examine the large old tree research field in 2000–2022. The queries of the bibliographic database generated quantitative–visual depictions in the form of knowledge maps. The nodes denote research intensity, and inter-node linkages denote the pathways and frequencies of collaborative activities. The research outputs differed significantly in terms of regions, countries, institutions, high-citation articles, productive researchers, hot topics, and research frontiers. Conspicuous spatial disparities were displayed, with the U.S.A., China, and Australia leading in publication counts and a cluster of European countries making considerable collective contributions. The research collaboration demonstrated a dichotomy: European countries networked more by geographical propinquity, and the top three countries connected by long-distance leap-frog jumps. The entrenched discrepancies between the endowed developed domains vis-à-vis the deprived developing domains were clearly expressed. The research productivity progressed through three stages: initial, growth, and flourishing. The leading institutions, researchers, and highly cited papers were recognized. The keyword analysis pinpointed diverse research hotspots: growth dynamics, conservation and management, ecological functions, and environmental response. This study informs recommendations for future research directions and cooperation on longevity mechanisms, evolutionary adaptation, dynamic monitoring, and temporal–spatial patterns. The integrated application of GIS, machine learning, and big data technologies could strengthen research capability. Copyright © 2024 by the authors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number373
JournalForests
Volume15
Issue number2
Early online dateFeb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Citation

Xie, C., Liu, C., Liu, D., & Jim, C. Y. (2024). Charting the research terrain for large old trees: Findings from a quantitative bibliometric examination in the twenty-first century. Forests, 15(2), Article 373. https://doi.org/10.3390/f15020373

Keywords

  • Large old trees (LOT)
  • Research hotspot
  • Research frontier
  • Bibliometrics
  • VOSviewer

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