Multiple telecouplings and their complex interrelationships

Jianguo Liu, Vanessa Hull, Junyan Luo, Wu Yang, Wei Liu, Andrés Viña, Christine Vogt, Zhenci Xu, Hongbo Yang, Jindong Zhang, Li An, Xiaodong Chen, Shuxin Li, Zhiyun Ouyang, Weihua Xu, Hemin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number44
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • 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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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