Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
306R: Emergent effects in telecoupled systems: challenges and lessons for governing local land-use in a globally connected world
Thursday, 25/Apr/2019:
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Session Chair: James David Anthony Millington
Session Chair: Ramon Felipe Bicudo da Silva
Session Chair: Mateus Batistella
Location: UniS-A 022
UniS Building, room A 022, ground floor, 72 seats
Session Topics:
How do we support transformation?

Session Abstract

In a globally connected world, drivers of change from distant locations can present challenges for governing local land systems. Economic growth and social change in some regions underlie changes in consumption behavior (e.g., increased meat consumption), driving other countries and regions to produce more than is needed locally to supply international markets and causing increases and changes in the international flow of commodities. Although the effects on land systems are manifested locally, the drivers of change can often seem diffuse and geographically indistinct. Revealing these drivers and making them clearer to local and regional land managers should enable better governance of land transitions and other emergent land-system effects. Thus, to address the challenge of governing local land-use systems under increasing and changing global pressures, studies and methods able to trace and identify expected and unexpected emergent outcomes are needed.

Over just the last five years, the telecoupling framework has been developed to aid investigation and understanding of these multi-scale issues of geographically distant causes and their emergent effects (e.g. introducing concepts such as spillover and cascading effects). This session is an opportunity for researchers to examine the possibility of innovative governance systems by understanding change through the lens of telecoupled systems. Additionally, it provides a forum on cutting-edge methods being applied to study telecoupled systems, including tracing spillover systems and quantification of flows between distant regions. The session thus provides lessons on how to anticipate and govern local land transformations and related emerging effects from multi-scale global drivers of change.

Session Organizers: James Millington, Ramon Silva, and Mateus Batistella

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Full talk
ID: 245 / 306R: 1
306R Emergent effects in telecoupled systems: challenges and lessons for governing local land-use in a globally connected world
Keywords: telecoupling, agent-based model, land system, land use change, soybean trade

Understanding and simulating telecoupled land systems—using international soybean trade as an example

Yue Dou1, Guolin Yao2, Ramon Silva3, Paul McCord1, Mateus Batistella3,4, Emilio Moran1,5, Jianguo 'Jack' Liu1

1Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University, USA; 2Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, USA; 3Center for Environmental Studies and Research, State University of Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil; 4Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, Brazil; 5Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, Michigan State University, USA

The sustainable use of land systems requires us to understand the complex drivers and mechanisms of agricultural land use. Many studies have concluded that the drivers for local land changes come in large part from global sources (e.g., international food trade increases deforestation in exporting countries). However, little is known about how these local land-use changes affect distant locations, namely the feedback between them. Yet these impacts and feedbacks can be significant for governing local land systems.

In this study, we constructed a telecoupled agent-based model (TeleABM) to simulate land-use changes in two distant places based on the integrated telecoupling framework (i.e., human and natural interactions between distant places). We used international soybean trade as a model example, and chose Brazil as the sending system and China as the receiving system because they are the world’s largest soybean exporter and importer respectively. We selected one representative county in each country to simulate and informed the model by spatio-temporal analysis of historical land-use changes and the empirical analyses of household survey data.

Our simulation results suggest that farmers’ cultivation activities in the receiving system are largely influenced by the flow of soybean trade, which is the aggregated result of individual land use decisions in the sending system. As for the current tariff dispute, we tested a “high tariff” scenario (i.e., China imposes a high tariff on the soybean imports from Brazil) to evaluate if this will reduce soybean cultivation in the sending system and stimulate soybean production in the receiving system. Our results provide novel insights for land system science. Using this model, we can advance understanding of feedbacks in telecoupled land systems, and identify effective pathways to govern sustainable land transformations in local and distantly connected places.

Full talk
ID: 272 / 306R: 2
306R Emergent effects in telecoupled systems: challenges and lessons for governing local land-use in a globally connected world
Keywords: telecoupling, governance, flows, emergence

Flow-based governance of telecoupled land systems

Darla Karin Munroe

Ohio State University, United States of America

The land-system science community has been working over the past decade to understand how significant environmental change in one location is often the result of connections among distal actors, institutions and markets. Deemed “teleconnections (Seto et al. 2012),” or “telecoupling (Liu et al. 2013),” such social-environmental interactions across great distance pose significant challenges for linking causes and effects. Therefore, defining and measuring sustainability, let alone implementing effective policy, is complicated and requires careful analysis. This paper takes stock of key empirical and theoretical research that engages with the concept of telecouping. Expanding on the points made in Sikor et al.’s (2013) work on “flow-based governance,” we redefine governance holistically, including how resources are extracted, transformed into commodities, transported to markets and consumer, and ultimately, social-environmental costs and benefits are distributed throughout this whole system. Therefore, governance of land systems is emergent, multiscale, multisite, and involving actors from land users to firms to government and nongovernmental organizations. We conclude with a summary of research priorities to address the governance challenges, including non-land system components, data gaps and greater transdisciplinary engagement.

Liu, J., Hull, V., Batistella, M., DeFries, R., Dietz, T., Fu, F., … Li, S. (2013). Framing sustainability in a telecoupled world. Ecology and Society, 18(2).

Seto, K. C., Reenberg, A., Boone, C. G., Fragkias, M., Haase, D., Langanke, T., … Simon, D. (2012). Urban land teleconnections and sustainability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(20), 7687–7692.

Sikor, T., Auld, G., Bebbington, A. J., Benjaminsen, T. A., Gentry, B. S., Hunsberger, C., … Schroeder, H. (2013). Global land governance: from territory to flow? Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 5(5), 522–527.

Full talk
ID: 394 / 306R: 3
306R Emergent effects in telecoupled systems: challenges and lessons for governing local land-use in a globally connected world
Keywords: Telecoupling, Spillover and Cascading Effects, Biodiversity, Agriculture, Smallholders

A new model of spillover and cascading effects in the global telecoupling of biodiversity in food and agriculture systems

Karl Zimmerer

Department of Geography, Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, Ecology Program, GeoSyntheSES Lab, Pennsylvania State University, United States of America, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Spain

Telecoupled drivers of human-environmental change are influential across multiple resource and social sectors. One area of notable research and governance challenge is the global telecoupling of biodiversity in food and agriculture systems (agrobiodiversity). The majority of global agrobiodiversity is located in smallholder agricultural regions subject to increasingly influential global economic integration and environmental change. It is essential to sustainability and nutritional security globally. This paper integrates a novel theoretical approach with the new empirical model based on recent data collection and field studies together with governance recommendations regarding agrobiodiversity in both the Global South and Global North.

The proposed theoretical approach is centered on the emergence of distinct region-scale spillover and cascading effects in telecoupling that influences the viability of agrobiodiversity resources. Global drivers and responses in these systems include genetic resources (e.g., the so-called Green Revolutions), commodity markets, decoupling and coupling of agrobiodiversity production and consumption, and resource displacement and rights. Region-scale spillover and cascading effects are theorized to emerge from multi-scale interactions and feedbacks. Using this approach, the determinants of agrobiodiversity outcomes are modelled with data from the new Agrobiodiversity, Food, and Nutrition (AFN) Project in Huánuco in central Peru (2016-2018) and the Agrobiodiversity, Migration, and Globalization (AMG) Project in central Bolivia (2010-2015). These models demonstrate the empirical roles and impacts on agrobiodiversity of the emergent properties of various spillover processes and related cascading effects. The latter are associated with environmental resource access, socioeconomic capacities, seed systems, and cultural valuation associated with diet, nutrition, and health.

Findings recommend specific governance approaches that can favorably impact the region-scale viability of smallholder production and consumption of agrobiodiversity and the linked outcomes of environmental sustainability and food and nutritional security. The impacts of these governance initiatives can be significantly enhanced through research insights on emergent, region-scale spillover and cascading effects.

Full talk
ID: 571 / 306R: 4
306R Emergent effects in telecoupled systems: challenges and lessons for governing local land-use in a globally connected world
Keywords: Land system science, land governance, land competition, telecoupling, Social Network Analysis, Madagascar

Environmental vs. economic claims on land in telecoupled systems: How distant actors increase local land competition in north-eastern Madagascar.

Onintsoa Ravaka Andriamihaja1,2, Florence Metz3,4, Julie G. Zaehringer1,2, Manuel Fischer3,4, Peter Messerli1,2

1Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Switzerland; 2Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland; 3Institute of Political Science, University of Bern, Switzerland; 4EAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology, Switzerland

Madagascar, a global biodiversity hotspot in the Indian Ocean, has experienced various claims on land by distant actors since colonial times. Demand in terms of commodities and biodiversity conservation shaped the local land systems in north-eastern Madagascar. Cash crop plantations and protected areas currently constitute the landscape in this area. The telecoupling concept provides a framework to analyse distant actors and institutions influencing local land use decisions. However, the extent of telecoupling in land governance in north-eastern Madagascar and the evidence base regarding its role in driving land use change and land competition are lacking. We used Social Network Analysis to disentangle distant interactions between the actors in terms of flows and institutions. The land governance networks show that different domains - economy and environment - lead by actors from different sectors have claims on the same land. These actors from different domains, generally, do not interact. We observe local land competition involving conservation against economic development activities. Furthermore, distant influence via distant flows and distant institutions reinforce land competition under these missing interaction conditions. Telecoupling situation takes place and lead to local land competition. Balancing this competition between economic and environmental domains in north-eastern Madagascar for a more sustainable regional development requires collaboration between the various actors. Sustainable land governance systems should involve the agents of change among the actors across sectors, scales and domains.

Full talk
ID: 650 / 306R: 5
306R Emergent effects in telecoupled systems: challenges and lessons for governing local land-use in a globally connected world
Keywords: lifestyle, emerging demands, local decisions, environmental appreciation

Local land-use decision-making addressing emerging global demands: lifestyle and environmental appreciation

Ziga Malek1, Peter Verburg1,2

1Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 2Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL)

Decisions on how we manage and change the land use have been studied widely. Predominantly, the focus is on land-use change processes as a consequence of economic objectives and the need for survival and livelihood. New emerging demands for land, due to changes in our lifestyle or environmental appreciation, however remain understudied. An example of such demands are hobby farming, recreation, social prestige, and the need for healthier and more sustainable products.

We present an overview of such emerging demands, resulting from a meta-analysis on how global driving forces affect local land-use decision-making. In our study we focus on the decision-makers’ objectives, their financial and social abilities, and the resulting land-use change processes. While we identified that changes to lifestyle are less significant compared to livelihood and economic objectives, land-use decision-makers with a higher appreciation of environmental values do represent a considerable portion of local decision-making. Moreover, we present the global spatial distribution of suppliers of such new emerging-demands. We study the socio-economic, climatic and soil characteristics that influence the occurrence of land-use decision-makers with high appreciation for environmental values and organic farmers. We observe that lifestyle objectives and environmental appreciation are positively related to favorable socio-economic and climatic conditions, both globally, but also within countries. Within developed countries, the locations of such new decision-making types do not differ significant from conventional decision-makers, that are mostly oriented towards intensification and improvements in efficiency. In developing countries, there are, however, larger differences, and environmentally aware decision-makers concentrate in the more accessible and developed regions.

Flash talk
ID: 364 / 306R: 6
306R Emergent effects in telecoupled systems: challenges and lessons for governing local land-use in a globally connected world
Keywords: Soybean trade, Phosphorus, Potassium

Increasing global phosphorus and potassium depletion behind soybean trade from Brazil to China

Junjie Yi1,2, Sanderine Nonhebel1, Weifeng Zhang2

1Centre for Energy and Environmental Sciences, Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen, University of Groningen, Netherlands; 2Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition, MOA, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, China

In the recent decades, the soybean trade from Brazil to China increased a lot. In 1996, the volumes transported between the countries were very small, but presently the largest share of Brazilian soybean export ends up in China, next to this, 40% of all imported soybeans in China originated from Brazil. Research has been done on consequences of these trade on global resource use and it has been shown that for land use, water use and nitrogen use this trade leads to resource savings. As the production of soybean in Brazil requires less resources per ton of product, than in China. In this paper we studied the impacts of this trade on two other nutrients: phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). These resources are non-renewable and efficient use is of great importance for future food supply. We applied the same methodology as was done for the analysis of the savings for the other resources. The outcome of our analysis showed opposite results. The soybean trade between Brazil and China turns out to increase the need for P and K. This has to do with the higher use of P and K in Brazilian soybean growing in comparison with the soybean growing in China. The trade led to the use of 68,000 extra tons of P and 286,000 extra tons of K. Since K and P are non-renewable, the indication that trade is actually increasing the use is worrying and should be studied in more detail.