Although it is obvious that research regarding Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) is context specific and developed over time, not many research papers yet intended to investigate these changes. As a matter of fact, the number of scientific publications addressing SFM is relatively high. Hence, such a wide field cannot be sufficiently covered by traditional literature review approaches. With this paper, we aim at identifying the most convergent narratives within the SFM-research landscape by applying a text mining methodology to recent scientific literature. By doing so, we generated results that indicate that there may have been three phases in the evolution of SFM-research: the early phase covers in particular issues regarding land use in tropical and developing countries. Furthermore, papers in this phase tend to focus on general concepts or policy issues. In contrast, the second phase is characterized by a larger share of publications in forestry focused journals. This process is seemingly connected with issues like forest management, certification, forest stand management and the development of sustainability indicators. A third phase can be observed by the relative downturn of publications in forest-focused journals between 2005 and 2010. A new focus in this period is climate change.
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