What Is Telecoupling?

  • Jinguo LiuEmail author
  • Anna Herzberger
  • Kelly Kapsar
  • Andrew K. Carlson
  • Thomas Connor
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Natural Resource Management book series (PSNRM)


The authors provide an overview of the telecoupling concept and framework as well as their applications to land system science. First, the authors clarify different interpretations of the framework such as it being structured versus processual, active versus passive roles of sending and receiving systems, comprehensiveness and flexibility, feasibility and entry points, system dynamics and boundaries, and scale dependencies. Second, they illustrate the framework’s utility for systematically understanding and managing telecoupled land use. Third, they highlight ongoing efforts to operationalise the framework and apply it to telecoupled governance by shifting from place-based to flow-based approaches. In conclusion, the authors present a glimpse of an extended framework (metacoupling) that is applicable across local-to-global scales for systematic analysis to address Sustainable Development Goals and other global challenges.



We thank Jonas Ø. Nielsen and Cecilie Friis for their invitation to write this chapter, and Cecilie Friis, Jonas Ø. Nielsen and Christoph Oberlack for reviewing the early draft. Funding was provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Michigan AgBioResearch.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jinguo Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anna Herzberger
    • 1
  • Kelly Kapsar
    • 1
  • Andrew K. Carlson
    • 1
  • Thomas Connor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeCenter for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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