Trends and gaps of the scientific literature on the Cerrado biome: A scientometric analysis

Pedro Paulino Borges, Katia Aline Forville de Andrade Oliveira, Karine Borges Machado, Úrsula Lopes Vaz, Hélida Ferreira da Cunha, João Carlos Nabout


The Cerrado (Brazilian savanna) is the second largest Brazilian biome and is considered a biodiversity hotspot, for presenting high endemism and being under intense threat. This study aimed at highlighting publication trends on the Cerrado, detecting possible gaps and indicating future directions for scientific studies on this biome. We searched for articles between 1991 and 2012 in the journal database of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). We observed a significant increase in the number of articles throughout the years of the evaluated period (r=0.89; P<0.001), demonstrating an increasing interest of the scientific community in the Cerrado. Largely addressed issues were related to biodiversity (64.75%), followed by abiotic environment (13.38%) and agricultural crops (11.21%). In addition, 10.65% addressed both biodiversity and abiotic environment jointly. The most studied taxonomic group was plants (42%), followed by fungi (18%) and insects (12%). Fishes presented a lower number of studies (0.6%). The main gaps concern the few studies dealing with abiotic aspects and freshwater organisms, such as fishes, and also a low increment in the number of articles on invertebrates, except insects. Based on these gaps, we suggest that future studies must be especially directed towards aquatic environments and their biodiversity.

Keywords: biodiversity, hotspot, scientometrics.

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