Figure 1. A VOSviewer bibliometric visualization for the keywords, “nexus”, “transformative” and “tools”.

The word and concept of most interest for me this year is nexus, defined broadly as a connected group or series. When placed in the context of natural resources management, a nexus framework renders a system of systems perspective. But which fields of knowledge are reflected in research and current business practices in natural resources management, and how are these various fields of study and business sectors interconnected?

The availability of, and access to natural resources such as clean water, energy and an appropriate food network are fundamental resources for all biological well-being. The projected human population growth and migration patterns in the adjacent future, will place increasing demand for these resources. While there are varying shades of optimism in the academic and practitioner circles on whether the pressure exerted on natural resources can be eased, and how it might be eased, there is little doubt that a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of the ecological elements, and the influences of human living behavior on our environment is needed to build more resilient communities.

Since current environmental and socio-economic challenges require effective transdisciplinary cooperation and approaches in resource management, a nexus framework or a system of systems perspective could be an effective tool towards coordinated planning in natural resources management. An integrative approach will also help guide sustainable living and behavior.

The key terms “nexus”, “transformation” and “tools” were searched from a combined university resource of 634 databases that included PubMed, SCOPUS, JUNO and CINAHL. A total of 50 349 documents were retrieved with the top three types of documents being academic journal articles (35 525), theses (9 051) and book chapters (3 631). The articles retrieved were published mainly between 2000 and 2023. The top three languages of publication include English (50 249), German (227) and Portuguese (199).

The most relevant 1000 articles from the retrieved documents were mined for their titles and abstracts, and uploaded into VOSviewer v1.6.18 (Orduña-Malea & Costas, 2021; van Eck & Waltman, 2011). VOSviewer is a software tool for constructing and visualizing bibliometric networks, and co-occurrences of topics in a curated, collected corpus. In this instance, the corpus built is related to a collection of documents pertaining to the subject of “nexus transformation tools”.

1073 terms were identified by the VOSviewer algorithm where a relevance score was calculated for 60% most relevant terms. Based on the most relevant terms percentage, the number of terms eventually selected were 422 items. Figure 1 shows the terms visualized in 6 clusters, with their interconnections. The six clusters include (i) science and technology (203 items), (ii) social science (116 items), (iii) economic growth (68 items), (iv) environment (19 items), (v) economic development (14 items) and (vi) energy consumption / emission (2 items).

Going back to my initial question, about which fields of knowledge are reflected in research and current business practices in natural resources management, and how are these various fields of study and business sectors interconnected?

Figure 1 reflects a dynamic relationship and coexistence of multiple world views in both academic research and business practices (Burch et al., 2019; Stein & Jaspersen, 2019). Many fields of study and socio-economic activity are needed to account for this complexity and their relative contextual conditions. The most relevant items identified by VOSviewer represent a meta-level mapping. Key subjects (and actors / stakeholders) outline a broad framework for empirical research and system governance. The various interconnections highlighted in Figure 1 also offer fertile grounds for scientific and societal debate on best management practices.

In synopsis, the nexus interconnections of knowledge fields and business activities highlighted in Figure 1 indicate that:

• Numerous political, technological, and socio-economic factors can be shaped by future governance processes and decisions towards more effective natural resources management
• There remains a potential challenge of increasing inequalities and multifaceted challenges across regions and within countries
• The influences of human activities on the biosphere, and environment have been and continue to be impactful and needs a more holistic management approach, and
• The convening exchange of knowledge between disciplines towards a nexus way of working, paves way towards better solutions and governance

Burch, S., Gupta, A., Inoue, C. Y. A., Kalfagianni, A., Persson, Å., Gerlak, A. K., Ishii, A., Patterson, J., Pickering, J., Scobie, M., van der Heijden, J., Vervoort, J., Adler, C., Bloomfield, M., Djalante, R., Dryzek, J., Galaz, V.,

Gordon, C., Harmon, R., … Zondervan, R. (2019). New directions in earth system governance research. Earth System Governance, 1, 100006.

Orduña-Malea, E., & Costas, R. (2021). Link-based approach to study scientific software usage: the case of VOSviewer. Scientometrics, 126(9), 8153–8186.

Stein, C., & Jaspersen, L. J. (2019). A relational framework for investigating nexus governance. The Geographical Journal, 185(4), 377–390.

van Eck, N. J., & Waltman, L. (2011). VOSviewer: Text mining and visualization using VOSviewer. ISSI Newsletter, 7(3).

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