The legacy of Elinor Ostrom on common forests research assessed through bibliometric analysis

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João Paulo Romanelli
Raquel Stucchi Boschi


A bibliometric analysis was performed to evaluate the research on common forest management that were influenced by the seminal work of Elinor Ostrom (Governing the Commons) from 1990 to 2018. This analysis was based on the online database of the Science Citation Index Expanded – Web of Science©. Six main aspects of the retrieved publications were evaluated: (1) publication years; (2) journals; (3) countries (or regions); (4) study approach type; (5) authors; and (6) keywords. Results indicated that researchers have addressed this research topic primarily through case studies. Authors from 34 different countries have been conducting studies based on Ostrom's theory. Forest Policy and Economics and Ecology & Society were the two most widely used journals to disseminate these results. The main concepts addressed by the body of literature, represented by the author’s keywords were: “Forest Governance”; “Institutional Analysis and Development Framework”; “Property Rights”; “Socio-ecological Systems”; “Community-based Forest Management”; “Co-management”; “Design Principles”; “Institutions”; “Common-pool Resource” and; “Sustainability”. Overall, this framework proved to be effective to evaluate the research trends, conflicting results and knowledge gaps surrounding the theme, and to contribute with researchers and governments on management and decision-making on this domain.

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