Workers harvesting bananas for export to the Chinese market, Luang Namtha Province, Laos, February 2018. Photo: Cecilie Friis
Workers harvesting bananas for export to the Chinese market, Luang Namtha Province, Laos, February 2018. Photo: Cecilie Friis

Telecoupling Research Towards Sustainable Transformation of Land Systems

Short Description

The telecoupling concept has been proposed to describe socio-economic and environmental interactions, flows and feedbacks over distance and across scales that cause change in otherwise separated land systems. As an analytical framework, the telecoupling framework brings together a systemic perspective on land-use change with flow- and network-oriented analytical approaches. As such, it is a clear and concrete response to the scientific and applied need for interdisciplinary exchange to tackle the challenges of global interconnectivity and (un)sustainability in land-use change.

Yet, while methodological and conceptual advancements have been made, and an emerging body of empirical studies is examining telecoupling in land-use systems, more collaboratory research is urgently needed in order to 1) foster a better understanding of how global interconnectivity influences land-use change in particular places and at particular moments in time; 2) capture and account for distant, unexpected feedbacks and spillovers that challenge social and environmental sustainability and 3) enhance evidence-based decision- and policy-making through transformative land governance initiatives for the sustainable management of land.

Goals and Objectives

The specific objectives of this Working Group are:

  1. Provide a platform for the diverse group of Land System Scientists working on telecoupling related questions to foster better interdisciplinary exchange and the consolidation of knowledge on methodological, conceptual and empirical issues related to telecoupling of land use systems.
  2. Advance the understanding of challenges and opportunities presented by telecoupling to sustainable land-use change
  3. Identify potential best practices and methodologies for designing transformative interventions into telecoupled land use systems that fosters sustainable development.
  4. Bringing together early and advanced-stage researchers
  5. Communicating telecoupling research activities and advances to non-academic stakeholders

GLP Themes: Telecoupling of land use systems, Land governance


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This blog post summarises a recently published article based on in-depth mixed method research in a national park in northern Laos. The paper sets out the livelihood implications of increasing conservation interventions coupled with accelerating marketisation of resident livelihoods. The authors draw out the major livelihood strategies pursued by residents and highlight the inequitably distributed costs and benefits of conservation actions at the village sites.   Read full post

Related Information


November 5, 2022
Thursday, January 19, 2023 -
3:00pm to 4:30pm

The GLP "Telecoupling Research Towards Sustainable Transformation of Land Systems" Working Group is kicking off their second phase with a webinar to reflect back on telecoupling research and discuss research gaps and emerging research frontiers. Open to all GLP members with an interest in telecoupling.

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July 11, 2022

A session proposal “Telecoupling: Interdisciplinary Frontier in Convergence Science” has been approved at the upcoming conference of AGU (American Geophysical Union) during December 12-16, 2022. Deadline: 3 August 2022

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December 13, 2021

A new paper in One Earth brings together studies across different sustainability dimensions, and investigates how global agricultural trade flows have affected land systems and resulting impacts on food and nutrient availability, natural habitat conversion, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem carbon storage.

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