Conference Agenda

352N: Capturing and understanding telecoupling in complex land systems
Thursday, 25/Apr/2019:
5:15pm - 6:45pm

Session Chair: Julie Gwendolin Zaehringer
Location: MB-205
Main Building, room 205, second floor, east wing, 90 seats
Session Topics:
How do we support transformation?

Session Abstract

Building a better understanding of how global interconnectivity – or telecouplings – shapes the pressure on land in various places, the spatially distributed trade-offs between different land uses and the implications for social and environmental sustainability is a key challenge and priority area of investigation for Land System Science. In recent years, land system scientists have made analytical and methodological progress in relation to capturing and understanding the complexity of telecoupling on land systems. Yet, outstanding challenges call for continued collaboration and exchange.

This session brings together leading and upcoming land-use scientists to discuss the methodological and conceptual challenges of capturing and understanding telecouplings in relation to unsustainable land-use practices, as well as opportunities to overcome them. The session is structured as a panel discussion with five invited scholars representing different methodological backgrounds. Each scholar will give a 7min flash-talk from their particular methodological perspective, and this is followed by an interactive discussion with the audience.

This session will launch the new GLP Working Group for Telecoupling Research towards Sustainable Transformation of Land Systems and will set the scene for the next three years of collaborative research on telecoupling within GLP, as well as introduce and discuss the work of the Innovative Training Network COUPLED. Operationalising telecouplings for solving sustainability challenges for land use.

Abstract submissions are welcome in this innovative and immersive session.

Session Organizers: Cecilie Friis, Julie Zähringer, and Jonas Østergaard Nielsen

ID: 547 / 352N: 1
352N Capturing and understanding telecoupling in complex land systems (INVITED ABSTRACTS ONLY)
Keywords: telecoupling, material flows, trade, inequality, social metabolism

Can (material) flows in telecouplings lead us to greater sustainability?

Anke Schaffartzik

Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain

The telecouplings of land-use systems enable unsustainable growth. Unlimited access to land and resources is coupled with the dispossession of people from their livelihood resources and with far-reaching environmental change. (Material) flows occur between a socio-economic system and its environment and between systems through trade. Environmental accounting methods have been developed based on pre-conceived notions on the drivers of telecouplings. By collaboratively disentangling empirical results, methodological assumptions, and conceptual advances, we can build on flow accounting to identify points of intervention into telecoupling and unsustainable growth.

ID: 247 / 352N: 2
352N Capturing and understanding telecoupling in complex land systems (INVITED ABSTRACTS ONLY)
Keywords: telecoupling, models, system dynamics, agent-based

Modelling Telecoupled Systems

James David Anthony Millington

King's College London, United Kingdom

Quantitatively modelling the dynamics of telecoupled systems could be achieved using numerous alternative approaches. These approaches include system dynamics, partial-equilibrium economic, agent-based and spatial modelling approaches, amongst others. Identifying the appropriate approach for a given set of questions and given the attributes of the system being investigated is important to ensure research objectives can be met. However, the desired approached may be constrained by scientific understanding, data availability and computing resources. Along with associated challenges of uncertainty, these issues are discussed to better understand how telecoupling modelling and models can produce useful insights about dynamics.

ID: 261 / 352N: 3
352N Capturing and understanding telecoupling in complex land systems (INVITED ABSTRACTS ONLY)
Keywords: telecoupling, governance, qualitative methods, multi-sited research, sustainability

Multi-sited field research into the governance of telecouplings

Almut Schilling-Vacaflor

University of Osnabrück, Germany

In my presentation I will discuss the study of the governance of telecouplings by conducting multi-sited field research. I will present insights from research into the telecoupling between Brazil and Germany surrounding the governance of the soy commodity chain, with a focus on socio-environmental sustainability. I argue that this methodology for scrutinizing telecouplings can contribute to bridge the gap between 1) distant places and 2) processes unfolding at different scales (local <-> global). I will also address related conceptual and methodological challenges, such as diverging problem definitions, limitations to understand inter-sectorial connections and difficulties to take informal institutions into account.

ID: 416 / 352N: 4
352N Capturing and understanding telecoupling in complex land systems (INVITED ABSTRACTS ONLY)
Keywords: impact assessment, land use change, telecoupling, agriculture, life cycle assessment

Traditional methods fall short to account the impacts of telecoupled agricultural production chains: comparative analysis and hybrid paths for improvement

Claudia Parra Paitan1, Peter Verburg1,2

1Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 2Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL

Despite the magnitude and extent of the impacts caused by telecoupled agricultural supply chains, a complete assessment of impacts to support alternative sourcing choices or reduce environmental footprints is lacking. To help solving this challenge, we make a comparative review of current impact assessment methods. Then, based on the identified knowledge gaps and through a case study, we propose the expansion of system boundaries of traditional life cycle assessments to include the indirect impacts in a spatial explicit manner and accounting for the geographic location management practices implemented. This hybrid method seeks to operationalize telecoupled systems within sustainability impact assessment.

ID: 356 / 352N: 5
352N Capturing and understanding telecoupling in complex land systems (INVITED ABSTRACTS ONLY)
Keywords: social network analysis

Using social network analysis in telecoupling research: opportunities and challenges.

Florence Metz

University of Bern, Switzerland

A core argument of telecoupling is that land uses and their changes exhibit interdependencies across locations. Analyzing telecoupling calls for methods that specifically account for interdependencies. Social network analysis (SNA) offers opportunities to operationalize and model interdependent land uses. However, applying SNA in telecoupling research also comes along with challenges. Not only the definition of nodes and ties across locations, but also the boundary specification is often less clear-cut in a telecoupled context than would be necessary for a rigorous SNA. Validity, reliability and measurement error are of particular concern when gathering network data in a telecoupled, potentially multi-cultural contexts.