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Barbero-Sierra C.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Marques M.J.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Ruiz-Perez M.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Escadafal R.,IRD CSFD | Exbrayat W.,Observatoire Midi Pyrenees OMP
Land Degradation and Development | Year: 2015

This study intends to understand how desertification research is organised in Spain. We assume that a strong communication between scientific knowledge and stakeholders is needed to slow down and reverse the impacts of land degradation on drylands. With this purpose, we conducted an in-depth study at a national level in Spain. The work focused on a sample of published references on desertification in scientific journals indexed in the Web of Science (WoS). The keywords were related to 'desertification', 'drylands', 'land', 'soil', 'development' and 'Spain'. Multivariate analysis, bibliometric techniques and network analysis were used in order to (i) identify research categories and their temporal evolution throughout the period under consideration (1989-2012), (ii) determine if there were different approaches amongst different regions affected by desertification in Spain, (iii) establish the relationships between research categories, (iv) characterise types of co-authorship and (v) map out the Spanish network on the science of desertification. Erosion-soil degradation and soil analysis are the most important research categories, whereas climatic issues are subsidiary and quite isolated from the rest of topics. Very few articles consider 'desertification' as the main theme. Socio-economic issues have scant links with the core of biophysical science. The Spanish network on the science of desertification shows a low density. Moreover, the relationships between universities/research centres with other stakeholders are marginal. This is not the best scenario for transforming scientific knowledge into practical tools for policy makers and land users. Knowledge transfer should be a priority for national desertification programmes. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

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