PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (3): 336-346.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2014.03.005

• Hydrology and Ecology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Bibliometric analysis of ecological footprint research during 1992-2012

ZHOU Xiaoyan1, ZHANG Wenyan1, YE Xinyue2, GAN Tian1, HAN Xiang1   

  1. 1. School of Resources and Environment, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China;
    2. Department of Geography, Kent State University, Kent 44240, OH, USA
  • Received:2013-07-01 Revised:2013-12-01 Published:2014-03-24
  • Contact: 张文妍(1990-),女,新疆阿勒泰人,硕士研究生,主要研究方向为生态经济与区域规划、经济空间统计与计量,E-mail:。

Abstract: The term "Ecological Footprint" is used to quantify the pattern of sustainable development in many recent studies. Since this term was coined in 1992, it has gained a growing popularity among scholars and decision makers all over the world because of its operability and comparability across various places. Based on the SCIE (Science Citation Index Expanded) and SSCI(Social Science Citation Index) databases, a bibliometric analysis is conducted on ecological footprint research during 1992-2012. The objective of this study is to identify the status and research direction of this theme. The collaboration relationship on this theme is detected among authors, research institutions, and countries. In addition, differences in research between China, USA and UK is identified. Future trend and hot topics are discussed as well. This study should serve as a useful guidance for beginners to grasp the big picture of this growing literature list while experienced researchers can gain a comprehensive and in-depth overview of this hot topic to better refine research directions and detect the gaps to fill. Bibliometrics is employed in this paper to analyze the publication pattern of ecological footprint research. As a research method used in library and information sciences, bibliometrics has been widely applied to analyze the pattern of literature and trend of a given topic or subject. It can be used for in-depth reviews of research themes for better guidance for follow-up studies. Based on 869 publications indexed in the SCIE/SSCI databases during 1992-2012, the bibliometrics depicts the progress of ecological footprint research through the revisit of many studies in this field. Build upon many review papers on ecological footprint, this bibliometrics-based paper presents a more comprehensive summary of the term definition, computational models, and case studies. The results reveal that the most productive and influential scholar in ecological footprint research is Wackernagel M, a Canadian ecological economist. University of British Columbia and University of Sydney are two major research institutions. Chinese Academy of Sciences and Beijing Normal University are two most influential institutions in this research area in China. USA ranks as the top country in the publications of this topic both qualitatively and quantitatively. China's publications of ecological footprint research follow USA and UK, but the quality should be improved in the future. Despite a relatively smaller size of publications than many other themes, ecological footprint research has witnessed a growing trend by paper number and collaboration across countries. Research has been conducted at multiple scales over the years, with growing interest in analyzing finer-scale patterns and trend. The list of research methods has become richer and more diverse. The methods such as input-output analysis, life cycle assessment and energy analysis are among the most popular approaches in recent literatures, though different countries vary in research focus. Climate change, carbon footprint and the transfer of ecological footprint appear to be the emerging hot topics.

Key words: bibliometric analysis, ecological footprint, future trend, SCIE/SSCI databases

CLC Number: 

  • Q149