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Multiple telecouplings and their complex interrelationships

Jianguo Liu, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University
Vanessa Hull, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University
Junyan Luo, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University; Systems In Motion
Wu Yang, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University; Conservation International
Wei Liu, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University; International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Andrés Viña, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University
Christine Vogt, Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University
Zhenci Xu, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University
Hongbo Yang, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University
Jindong Zhang, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University
Li An, Department of Geography, San Diego State University
Xiaodong Chen, Department of Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Shuxin Li, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University
Zhiyun Ouyang, State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Weihua Xu, State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Hemin Zhang, Wolong Nature Reserve

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07868-200344

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Abstract

Increasingly, the world is becoming socioeconomically and environmentally connected, but many studies have focused on human-environment interactions within a particular area. Although some studies have considered the impacts of external factors, there is little research on multiple reciprocal socioeconomic and environmental interactions between a focal area and other areas. Here we address this important knowledge gap by applying the new integrated framework of telecouplings (socioeconomic and environmental interactions between two or more areas over distances). Results show that even a protected area - i.e., the Wolong Nature Reserve for giant pandas in southwest China - has multiple telecoupling processes with the rest of the world; these include panda loans, tourism, information dissemination, conservation subsidies, and trade of agricultural and industrial products. The telecoupling processes exhibit nonlinear patterns, they change over time, and they have varying socioeconomic and environmental effects across the world. We also find complex relationships among different telecouplings - e.g., amplification, offsetting, spatial overlaps - which cannot be detected by traditional separate studies. Such an integrated study leads to a more comprehensive understanding of distant human-environment interactions and has significant implications for global sustainability and human well-being.

Key words

China; conservation; cross-scale interactions; environmental interactions; giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca); human-environment interactions; information dissemination; nature reserve; socioeconomic interactions; telecoupling; telecoupling framework; Wolong Nature Reserve

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087