Using the Web of Science database, 1498 research articles published between 1900 and 2019 on the subject of farmland abandonment were retrieved. With the help of the SciMAT tool, a theme strategic diagram, overlay map and evolution map represented by keywords were constructed, and the strategic coordinate analysis and data flow analysis methods were used to analyze the research themes, evolutionary states and paths of farmland abandonment in different research time periods. The results show the following: (1) Research on farmland abandonment has rapidly grown in the past ten years, the development of studies on farmland abandonment has become more mature, and the research topics and content have tended to solidify; (2) The research topics of studies on farmland abandonment are mostly centered on forests, patterns, landscapes, land use changes, climate change, etc. The research topics have had strong continuity and few new research hotspots; (3) The study of the ecological environment effect of farmland abandonment is the basic research direction in the field of farmland abandonment and will continue to become a research hotspot; (4) Farmland abandonment has become an important part of the research on land use change and ecosystem processes; (5) The driving force of farmland abandonment includes natural, social and economic factors, among which the socioeconomic factors are the most important driving force, and will continue to be a research hotspot. Finally, this study concludes that the research directions on farmland abandonment in future should strengthen the quantitative assessment of environmental effects of farmland abandonment, information extraction and multiscale simulation monitoring, trend prediction and risk assessment.
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