Significance of telecoupling for exploration of land-use change

Hallie Eakin, Ruth DeFries, Suzi Kerr, Eric F. Lambin, Jianguo Liu, Peter J. Marcotullio, Peter Messerli, Anette Reenberg, Ximena Rueda, Simon R. Swaffield, Birka Wicke, Karl Zimmerer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

124 Scopus citations


Land systems are increasingly influenced by distal connections: the externalities and unintended consequences of social and ecological processes which occur in distant locations, and the feedback mechanisms that lead to new institutional developments and governance arrangements. Economic globalization and urbanization accentuate these novel telecoupling relationships. The prevalence of telecoupling in land systems demands new approaches to research and analysis in land science. This chapter presents a working definition of a telecoupled system, emphasizing the role of governance and institutional change in telecoupled interactions. The social, institutional, and ecological processes and conditions through which telecoupling emerges are described. The analysis of these relationships in land science demands both integrative and diverse epistemological perspectives and methods. Such analyses require a focus on how the motivations and values of social actors relate to telecoupling processes, as well as on the mechanisms that produce unanticipated outcomes and feedback relationships among distal land systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780262322126
ISBN (Print)9780262026901
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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