Applications of the telecoupling framework to land-change science

Jianguo Liu, Vanessa Hull, Emilio Moran, Harini Nagendra, Simon R. Swaffield, B. L. Turner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

50 Scopus citations


Over the past two decades, progress has been made in understanding and predicting land-use change in specific places, using frameworks such as coupled human-natural systems, coupled human-environmental systems, or coupled social-ecological systems. However, land-use change around the world is increasingly being driven by new agents and causes w hich emanate from distant locations, through forces such as trade, migration, t ransnational land deals, and s pecies invasions. New conceptual frameworks are thus needed to account for such distant forces. This chapter applies a framework that explicitly takes distant forces into account in land-use change and builds on the concept of t elecoupling (i.e., environmental and socioeconomic interactions among coupled systems over large distances). Telecoupling is a logical extension of coupled systems thinking; it draws insights from related concepts in different disciplines and serves as an umbrella concept to address and integrate various types of distant connections between coupled systems. The telecoupling framework includes five major and interrelated components: coupled human-natural systems, agents, flows, causes, and effects. An overview of the telecoupling framework is presented and two examples (transnational land deals and species invasions) demonstrate the application of the framework to global land use. Finally, challenges and opportunities in understanding telecouplings and their consequences are highlighted and calls made for new directions in land-change research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780262322126
ISBN (Print)9780262026901
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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