Land degradation is a global issue receiving much attention currently. In order to objectively reveal the research situation of land degradation, bibliometrix and biblioshiny software packages have been used to conduct data mining and quantitative analysis on research papers in the fields of
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Land degradation is a global issue receiving much attention currently. In order to objectively reveal the research situation of land degradation, bibliometrix and biblioshiny software packages have been used to conduct data mining and quantitative analysis on research papers in the fields of land degradation during 1990–2019 (data update time was 8 April 2019) in the Web of Science core collection database. The results show that: (1) during the past 20 years, the number of papers on land degradation has increased. According to the number of articles, it is divided into four stages: a low-production exploration period, a developmental sprout period, expansion of the promotion period, and a high-yield active period. (2) Land-degradation research covers 93 countries or regions. The top five countries in terms of research volume are China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia. China, the United States, and the United Kingdom are the most important countries for international cooperation in the field of land degradation. However, cooperation between countries is not very close overall. (3) Land degradation, degradation, desertification, remote sensing, soil erosion, and soil degradation are high-frequency keywords in the field of land degradation in recent years. (4) The research hotspots in the field of land degradation mainly focus on research directions such as restoration and reconstruction of land degradation, and sustainable management of land resources. (5) The themes of various periods in the field of land degradation are diversified, and the evolutionary relationship is complex. There are 15 evolutionary paths with regard to dynamic monitoring of land degradation, environmental governance of land degradation, and responses of land degradation to land-use change. Finally, the paper concludes that the research directions on land degradation in future include the process, mechanism, and effect of land degradation, the application of new technologies, new monitoring methods for land degradation, theory enhancement, methods and models of ecological restoration, reconstruction of degraded land, multidisciplinary integrated system research, constructing a policy guarantee system for the reconstruction of degraded land, and strengthening research on land resource engineering.