Annual number of publications and cumulative number of publications are divided into two periods. Before 2001, the development of biodiversity offsetting was slow, and the number of papers published per year was less than 10, with an average annual publication of 3.2. In 2002, the number exceeded 10. Between 2002 and 2019, the average annual number of publications was 64.3, with a maximum of 141. From 2015 to 2019, more than 100 papers were published, with an average annual publication of 126.8 (Fig. 1). During this period, biodiversity offsetting achieved relatively rapid development.
Figure 1. Annual publication number and cumulative publication number in the 1992–2019 corpus of Biodiversity Offsetting publications
The Cumulative Publication Number Curve shows that the growth rate was slow from 1992 to 2001, increased from 2002 to 2014, and increased significantly from 2015 to 2019, indicating that research on biodiversity offsetting was entering a rapid development stage (Fig. 1). Fig. 1 shows that the quadratic polynomial curve fitted the literature growth curve well. It indicates that the accumulation of literature in this field would continue to increase rapidly in the future. At present, the research on biodiversity offsetting is still at the beginning of the second stage. The absolute number of papers increases rapidly, but the total amount is still small, and the theory and research methods could still be improved.
All 1190 publications were published in 471 sources, the core publication sources including 19 journals. The journal which most frequently published articles on biodiversity offsetting was Biological Conservation, followed by the broad scope journal PLOS One. Most of the core journals focused on biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration, and ecosystem management. It is worth noting that top journals Nature and Proceeding of The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) are also among the core journals, indicating that high attention has been paid to biodiversity offsetting (Fig. 2).
Figure 2. Three sections of the publication sources in the field of biodiversity offsetting. The core publication source is shown with bold dotted line. 1, Biological Conservation; 2, Plos One; 3, Journal of Applied Ecology; 4, Conservation Biology;5, Conservation Letters; 6, Ecological Applications; 7, Forest Ecology and Management; 8, Land Use Policy; 9, Nature; 10, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; 11, Oryx; 12, Restoration Ecology; 13, Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment; 14, Biodiversity and Conservation; 15, Ecological Economics; 16, Ecosystem Services; 17, Environmental and Planning Law Journal; 18, Environmental Management; 19, Environmental Science & Policy; 20, Journal of Environmental Management; 21, Ecological Engineering; 22, Environmental Conservation; 23, Global Change Biology
Among the 31 important publications, the LCS values of Mckennney, 2010, Maron, 2013, and Bull, 2013a (Fig. 3) were significantly higher than that of other publications, and which are important nodes for literature growth. These three papers are reviews of important theoretical and practical issues, and future challenges in the area, concepts including: currency, no net loss, equivalence, additionality, ratios, location, time lags, duration, uncertainty, thresholds, and effectiveness (Table 1), which are the most recent relevant issues considered in subsequent studies, especially offset ratios calculation (Gibbons et al., 2016; Yu et al., 2017; 2018). These nodal literatures led to an increase in the rate of subsequent publications in the literature.
Figure 3. Historical direct citation network of publications in the field of biodiversity offsetting. Point size indicates the citation frequency of this field, namely the local citation score value; lines indicate that the first publication is cited by the later publication.  Maron et al., 2015a;  Spash et al., 2015;  Ives and Bekessy, 2015;  Bull et al., 2014;  Maron et al., 2016;  Moreno-Mateos et al., 2015;  Gordon et al., 2015;  Maron et al., 2015b;  Rainey et al., 2015;  Goncalves et al., 2015;  Pickett et al., 2013;  Curran et al., 2014;  Bull et al., 2013a;  Overton et al., 2013;  Quétier et al., 2014;  Gardner et al., 2013;  Maron et al., 2013;  Pilgrim et al., 2013;  Virah-sawmy et al., 2014;  Maron et al., 2012;  Gordon et al., 2011;  Quétier and Lavorel, 2011;  Bekessy et al., 2010;  Moilanen et al., 2009;  Walker et al., 2009;  Mckenney and Kiesecker, 2010;  Norton , 2009;  Kiesecker et al., 2010;  Maron et al., 2010;  Kiesecker et al., 2009;  Burgin, 2008
Problem Description No net loss To achieve the amount of biodiversity attributes or value provided by compensation equals or exceeds the total impact Currency To achieve no net loss of biodiversity, metrics for measuring biodiversity value or attribute need to be chosen Equivalence Equally balanced biodiversity losses and gains Additionality The potential quantum of biodiversity gain associated with protecting or restoring a site, limitations on the availability of biodiversity target can lead to in-kind versus out-of-kind offset Ratios Offset ratios, which also be called multipliers, are used to determine how much biodiversity needs to be restored elsewhere to achieve no net loss relative to the quantity and quality of impact Location Where offsets should occur, spatial allocation of offsets in relation to impacts (on-site versus off-site) Time lags The temporal gap between losses of the impact and offset gains Duration To determine how long an offset scheme should continue Uncertainty Some uncertainties throughout the offset process, such as the risk of failure Thresholds Defining different threshold of biodiversity values to determine different offset types, and beyond which offsets are not acceptable Effectiveness To examine the feasibility and availability of restoration offsets or avoided loss offsets Notes: cited from Bull et al., 2013a; Mckennney and Kiesecker, 2010; Maron et al., 2013
Table 1. Conceptual and practical issues on biodiversity offsetting
We made a Word Cloud using Keywords-Plus and analyzed the current research topics, the hot issues and research trends of biodiversity offsetting. There were 5104 keywords, and 4949 left after the following keywords were deleted: ‘biodiversity offset’, ‘biodiversity offsets’ and ‘biodiversity offsetting’. A total of 56.8% of the total 4949 keywords appeared only once (Fig. 4a). The keywords indicate that the main studies in this field focused on ecosystem services, management, ecosystem restoration, no net loss, climate change, impacts and biodiversity conservation (Fig. 4b). The research topics shown in Fig. 4 indicate that keywords mainly focused on biodiversity conservation, no net loss of ecosystem services, and the implications for policymakers and management, while other keywords focused on research models, carbon offsets to deal with climate change, and some other fields (Fig. 4b). Our statistical analysis showed that out of a total of 678 publications studying biodiversity offsetting for different ecosystem types, the majority of studies related to terrestrial environments (72%), in particular forest ecosystems (57%), followed by water environments (19%), especially wetland ecosystems (10%), while some other studies explored the marine environment (8%) (Table 2).
Figure 4. Frequency of keywords (a), and research topics (b) in the field of biodiversity offsetting. The letter size of keywords represented their frequency in the studies, the larger the font, the more frequently it appeared in the studies
Ecosystem types Sub-ecosystem types Percentage of studies related / % Terrestrial environments Forest 57 Agriculture 7 Grass 9 Water environments Wetland 10 Watershed 1 Marsh 1 River 7 Marine environments Marine 8
Table 2. The percentage of studies related to different ecosystem types in the field of biodiversity offsetting
As shown in Fig. 5, the top three most productive countries extracted by tracking authors’ addresses were the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom with 240, 181 and 149 publications, respectively (Fig. 5). With the exception of Japan, Hungary, and Singapore, which mainly published articles with co-authors from a single country, other countries published a significant amount of publications involving multi-country cooperation. China, Brazil, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Costa Rica and Antigua published more articles involving multiple countries than from a single country, while other countries published more articles from a single country than with multi-country collaborations (Fig. 5).
Fig. 6 shows five clusters in the academic collaborative relationships among the top 30 most productive countries. The circle size of the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia are bigger than the other countries, which indicates that the more international countries are the most active in this area. The line between USA, United Kingdom, Australia, China, Germany and France are thicker than others, which shows that the authors in these countries have a closer collaboration relationship. These countries are familiar with international cooperation and regard it as an important research strategy.
Figure 6. Academic collaborative relationships among the top 30 most productive countries in the field of biodiversity offsetting. The size of a circle represents the total number of publications in a country through international cooperation. The width of the line between the two countries represents the frequency of cooperation, and colors represent the cluster of countries, the countries with the same color (cluster) are more inclined to collaborate on writing papers than countries outside of their cluster
Maron M from the University of Queensland and Bull J from the University of Kent have published 23 and 22 articles respectively and are the top two productive authors in the field of biodiversity offsetting. At the same time, according to the analysis results of the importance of literatures on the historical direct citation Network, Maron M and Bull J were listed as 31 important literatures in the field of Biodiversity Offsetting (Fig. 3), and the citation frequency (LCS) of Maron M and Bull J in the current dataset was relatively high (Fig. 7a). H index is an index used to evaluate scientists. It can be seen that although the two authors have more publications and higher citation rates, their H-index is relatively low, indicating that their other publications did not receive enough citations. The authors of the top 31 most productive authors were mostly located among the top 10 most productive countries, with Australia having the most influential authors, followed by France (Fig. 7b).
Fig. 8 shows the publication volume per year of the top 10 most productive institutions. The volume of publications is the most direct manifestation of the high degree of activity of a scientific research institution. If the research institution produces output every year in this field, it means that the research institution is active in this field. The higher the number of publications per year, the more active it is in this field. In recent years, seven institutions, including University of Queensland, Australia (Univ. Queensland), Australian National University, Australia (Australian Univ.), University of Copenhagen, Denmark (Univ. Copenhagen), University of Melbourne, Australia (Univ. Melbourne), University of Western Australia, Australia (Univ. Western Australia), University of Helsinki, Finland (Univ. Helsinki), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia (Rmit Univ.) and University of Cambridge (Univ. Cambridge) were active in the field of biodiversity offsetting. Among them, Univ. Queensland, Australian Univ. and Univ. Copenhagen were highly active. The research output of these institutions may thus be worthy of our attention. Institutions such as Colorado State University, USA (Colorado State) and James Cook University, Australia (James Cook Univ.) have not published in recent years, they may have shifted their research interest. Among the top 10 most productive institutions, nine are universities.
Figure 8. Publication volume per year of the top 10 most productive institutions in the field of biodiversity offsetting. Univ. Queensland, University of Queensland, Australia; Australian Univ., Australian National University, Australia; Univ. Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Univ. Melbourne, University of Melbourne, Australia; Univ. Western, University of Western Australia, Australia; Univ. Helsinki, Australia University of Helsinki, Finland; Australia Rmit Univ., Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology; Univ. Cambridge, University of Cambridge; Ft. Collins., Fort Collins, USA; James Cook Univ., James Cook University, Australia
Fig. 9 presents the academic cooperation among the active authors and institutions in the research area of biodiversity offsetting. We identified 200 unique authors, mainly clustered in four cooperative clusters, contributing 84%, 11.5%, 4% and 0.5% of the output in the field, respectively. The largest component (n = 168) consisted in co-authors of one article published in the journal Science, about the impact of conservation on the status of the world’s vertebrates (Hoffmann et al. 2010). The next largest component (n = 23) included most of the top 30 most productive authors, such as Maron M, Bull J, Gordon A, Kiesecker J, Gardner T, Lindenmayer D, Von H, Pilgrim J, Possingham H, Gibbons P and Evans M. They are the main researchers on biodiversity offsetting.
Figure 9. Academic cooperation among active authors (a) and institutions (b) in the field of biodiversity offsetting. In this network model, nodes in (a) are authors and edges indicate the number of coauthored publications, and colors represent authors’ clustering. Nodes in (b) are institutions and edges indicate the number of publications resulting from cooperation, and colors represent institutional clustering. Univ. Adelaide, University of Adelaide, Australia; Univ. Glasgow, University of Glasgow, UK; Univ. Montana, University of Montana, USA; Chengdu Inst. Biol., Chengdu Institute of Biology, China; Univ. Hawaii, University of Hawaii, USA; Univ. Stellenbosch, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa; Univ. Alberta, University of Alberta, Canada; Univ. Puerto Rico, University of Puerto Rico, USA; Univ. Michigan, University of Michigan, USA; Univ. Stirling, University of Stirling, UK; Arizona State Univ., Arizona State University, USA; Univ. New Hampshire, University of New Hampshire, USA; Bangor Univ., Bangor University, UK; Georgia So Univ., Georgia So University, USA; Univ. Calif Berkeley, University of California Berkeley, USA; Simon Fraser Univ., Simon Fraser University, Canada; Griffith Univ., Griffith University, Australia; Univ. Kent, University of Kent, UK; James Cook Univ., James Cook University, Australia; Univ. Hong Kong, University of Hong Kong, China; Univ. Oxford, University of Oxford, UK; Univ. London Imperial Coll, University of London Imperial Coll, UK; Univ. Maryland, University of Maryland, USA; Univ. Queensland, University of Queensland, Australia; Univ. Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Australian Nati Univ., Australian National University, Australia
We identified 37 unique institutions in this research area, which mainly consisted of two cooperative clusters, the largest component (n = 24, 64.9%) were from the published article on the journal of Science, the second component (n = 13) included the institutions in the top 10 most productive institutions, such as Univ. Queensland, Australian Univ., Univ. Copenhagen, and James Cook Univ.. Otherwise, University of Kent (Univ. Kent) was also an important cooperative institution.
Bibliometric Review of Biodiversity Offsetting During 1992−2019
- Received Date: 2020-11-25
- Available Online: 2022-03-03
- Publish Date: 2022-04-01
- academic influence /
- biodiversity offsetting /
- compensation /
- bibliometric analysis /
- social network analysis
Abstract: Biodiversity offsetting plays a crucial role in managing the impacts of development on natural habitats. Developers, conservation groups, governments and financial institutions have used biodiversity offsetting to design measurable conservation actions to compensate for significant residual adverse biodiversity impacts arising from development. However, the concepts and methodologies of biodiversity offsetting have rarely been systematically reviewed, and best practices are still lacking. This hinders the development and applications of this field, and makes it difficult for new researchers to learn, develop, and apply biodiversity offsetting. This paper aims to review research progress on biodiversity offsetting during the period of 1992 to 2019. We mainly used bibliometric analysis and social network analysis methods to expose the topic diversity, development and promotion of this research field, and assess collaboration among biodiversity offsetting scholars. Our research identified 1190 records, and revealed that the total number of publications increased rapidly since 2002. The most productive journal, country, and author were Biological Conservation, USA, and Dr. Maron M of University of Queensland, respectively. Co-author analysis identiﬁed that the 23 authors most relevant to biodiversity offsetting were involved in a collaboration network. And they were mainly from 30 countries in a collaboration network, and the authors from USA, Australia and the United Kingdom have the most cooperation, which mainly driven by policy related to biodiversity offsetting. Our review shows that biodiversity offsetting research is at an early stage of rapid development with topically diverse and collaborative science domains. The majority of studies focus on terrestrial environments, which makes the implementation of aquatic ecosystem is more difficult. Theoretical problems and the implications of research evolution and social network in biodiversity offsetting are discussed, and further development of the theory and methodologies of biodiversity offsetting and management was recommend.
|Citation:||YU Shuling, CUI Baoshan, XIE Chengjie, MAN Ying, FU Jing, 2022. Bibliometric Review of Biodiversity Offsetting During 1992−2019. Chinese Geographical Science, 32(2): 189−203 doi: 10.1007/s11769-022-1265-5|