What is telecoupling?

Show new policy regimesand regulations in one country have direct consequences for land use in others, forexample, in relation to forest protection policies resulting in leakages of deforestation abroad (Meyfroidt & Lambin,2009; Meyfroidt et al.,2013; Meyfroidt, Rudel, & Lambin,2010) .

A telecoupling ariseswhen an action produces flows between two or more place-based human–environment systems, which create a change and/or response in one or both of the systems–regardless of whether or not these effects are intended. Within each system, a varietyof agents can create or hinder the flows, and hence set in motion different causes andeffects, including feedbacks.

Systems are classified as sending, receiving or spill-over systems. Sending systemsrefer to places where the flow originates, whereas receiving systems are the recipients ofthe flow. Spill-over systems are understood as places that affect or are affected by the flowof interaction between sending and receiving systems, but without direct influence on thenature or direction of the flow. The complexity of the simple schematics increases asmultiple sending, receiving and spill-over systems interact over distances. Depending onthe particular flow being analysed, any system can act as a sending, receiving and/or spill-over system. Although the spatial extent of telecouplings is not explicitly addressed byLiu et al. (2013), telecouplings are implicitly characterised as interactions over (large)geographical distances, for example, the soybean trade between the US and China.
(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282846306_From_teleconnection_to_telecoupling_taking_stock_of_an_emerging_framework_in_land_system_science [accessed Feb 14 2019].

Eakin et al.(2014) stress that the outcomes or results of telecoupled interactions are often indirect,emergent or of a second or third order because different land use systems are governedindependently of each other. This approach suggests that telecoupling can be analysedas the outcome of five key features: the trigger that sets the telecoupling in motion, thedirect impacts in the system with the initial change, the indirect/unexpected impacts inthe distantly coupled system, the feedback processes that influence the existinggovernance structures, and finally, the potential institutional change in both systems.

A further distinction of this approach is the explicit emphasis on the networkedinteractions across scales in the creation of telecouplings, which substitute the spatialhierarchy and nested scales of analysis featuring prominently in the structuredapproach. For example, Eakin et al. (2014) note that the rising influence of informa-tion technology and social networks have made it possible for actors toskip scaleand interact, influence and create outcomes in telecoupled systems (p. 159). Finally,the question of analytical entry pointis left open in the heuristic approach totelecoupling analysis, where the analysis, for example, could start from an observedland use change, a policy expected to trigger change or in adverse social or environ-mental impacts.

Whereas Liuet al. (2013) and Liu et al. (2014) frame telecouplings in a structured spatial hierarchy,Eakin et al. (2014) define them as the outcomes of networked interactions across scales.Furthermore, the structured approach in essence presents a type of‘checklist’of compo-nents to include in an exhaustive analysis that encourages, though does not require, theanalysis to begin from the flow of interest, while the heuristic approach focuses onnetworks, actors and processes with a more open analytical entry point (Friis &Nielsen,2014). Both approaches highlight the need for continued engagement withdifferent theoretical tools and methodologies in order to capture the full complexity ofthe dynamics and processes involved in telecoupling.

POLITICAL ECOLOGY These insights from political ecology can provide telecoupling research with the meansto address the challenge related to power asymmetries and asymmetrical relations betweensystems. By analysing interactions between distantly linked systems as (potential) distribu-tion conflicts, actors at both‘ends’of the interaction become active agents with (potential)power to influence the outcome of the interaction. Instead of analysing‘effects’of telecou-plings on (passive) receiving or spill-over systems, telecoupling research could ask whichactors, regardless of their‘location’in the interaction, have the power to decide on land useoutcomes and to shape the interconnectedness of (telecoupled) human–environment systems.The contested nature of the processes of production of (unequal) telecouplings could thus beexplored, with particular attention to dynamics of resistance and struggle for alternativetelecouplings and political ecological orders across the world.
(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282846306_From_teleconnection_to_telecoupling_taking_stock_of_an_emerging_framework_in_land_system_science [accessed Feb 14 2019].


(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282846306_From_teleconnection_to_telecoupling_taking_stock_of_an_emerging_framework_in_land_system_science [accessed Feb 14 2019].


(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282846306_From_teleconnection_to_telecoupling_taking_stock_of_an_emerging_framework_in_land_system_science [accessed Feb 14 2019].


(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282846306_From_teleconnection_to_telecoupling_taking_stock_of_an_emerging_framework_in_land_system_science [accessed Feb 14 2019].


(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282846306_From_teleconnection_to_telecoupling_taking_stock_of_an_emerging_framework_in_land_system_science [accessed Feb 14 2019].

(PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282846306_From_teleconnection_to_telecoupling_taking_stock_of_an_emerging_framework_in_land_system_science [accessed Feb 14 2019].

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