A Review and Discussion on the Earth's Critical Zone Research: Status Quo and Prospect

Clc Number:

Fund Project:

Supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources Project (

  • Article
  • |
  • Figures
  • |
  • Metrics
  • |
  • Reference
  • |
  • Related
  • |
  • Cited by
  • |
  • Materials
  • |
  • Comments

    In the past twenty years, the emerging and rising of the "Earth's Critical Zone" study has provided a new perspective for re-examining the functions of water, soil, air, life, rock and their intrinsic interactions in earth's surface system. By collecting relevant researches on Earth's Critical Zone from 2001~2021 at home and abroad, we conducted a bibliometric analysis using CiteSpace. We introduced the history and current status of Earth's Critical Zone research, in order to provide a theoretical and decision-making support for the comprehensive management of natural resources and ecological restoration of territorial space. The results show that:(i) Earth's Critical Zone have received widespread academic attention from developed countries in Europe, the United States and China; (ii) The research priorities are obviously different among the three stages (i.e. germination, early and rapid development stage); (iii) Soil is the link and core connecting surface and underground processes; (iv) Geophysical technology has become an important tool for understanding the structure and processes of Earth's Critical Zone; (v) Networked observations and model simulations are important directions in the next stage; (vi) The quantification, trade-off, and improvement of functions and services in Earth's Critical Zone are expected to become important decision- support tools. In the future, there is still a need to strengthen research aimed at (i) Boosting infrastructure construction and building a more collaborative network of Earth's Critical Zone observatory; (ii) Construction of interdisciplinary research and talent teams and training new generations of critical zone scientists; (iii) Serving the social needs of sustainable development, apply and develop the Earth's Critical Zone science in practice; (iv) Developing new technologies and methods, and improve theories, models and methodological systems; (v) Revealing the coupling mechanisms of the Earth's Critical Zone processes and their environmental effects, and strengthen the research on the impacts of human activities on water and soil processes, material cycles and energy exchange.

    Cited by
Get Citation

YANG Shunhua, SONG Xiaodong, WU Huayong, WU Kening, ZHANG Ganlin. A Review and Discussion on the Earth's Critical Zone Research: Status Quo and Prospect[J]. Acta Pedologica Sinica,2024,61(2):308-318.

Article Metrics
  • Abstract:
  • PDF:
  • HTML:
  • Cited by:
  • Received:November 23,2022
  • Revised:February 13,2023
  • Adopted:March 14,2023
  • Online: April 11,2023
  • Published: March 15,2024