Ecological Sustainability in a Telecoupled World

Thursday, August 8, 2013: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
M100EF, Minneapolis Convention Center
Jianguo Liu
Harold Mooney
William McConnell
New and powerful interactions between distant places are escalating across the world and are profoundly shaping ecological sustainability from local to global scales. Such distant interactions include trade, species invasions, human migration, direct foreign investment, and transnational land deals. However, particular distant interactions have largely been studied in isolation, and findings have been fragmented. In this symposium, speakers will present exciting work related to an integrated framework called telecoupling socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances. The umbrella concept of telecoupling is a natural extension of concepts such as coupled human and natural systems, which tend to focus on couplings within a specific place. Although distant forces are sometimes considered, they are often treated as exogenous variables and little effort has been directed toward understanding how telecouplings affect sustainability in multiple places. Because changes in one place can drastically shape both socioeconomic and environmental outcomes in distant places and can cause cascading and spillover effects in many other places, it is essential to treat distant forces as endogenous variables and explicitly analyze feedbacks as part of an integrated system. Although many disciplines have addressed distant interactions separately, numerous questions remain: How do different types of distant interactions enhance or offset sustainability at different locations? How may telecouplings be facilitated to enhance sustainability? To answer these and other related fundamental questions, we have chosen a number of cutting-edge research projects that have taken innovative approaches to address complex issues in telecouplings and sustainability across different places. The symposium covers rapidly developing countries (e.g., China) and developed countries (e.g., the U.S). It includes a diverse set of ecosystems (e.g., urban, agricultural) from around the world. Each speaker will present novel insights from a systems perspective and use the study to help consolidate the telecoupling framework. The symposium will begin with an introduction and end with a synthesis and dialogue among the speakers and the audience. The synthesis will compare and contrast the studies, provide insightful perspectives, and discuss future directions for telecouplings and sustainability at multiple locations.
International Affairs Section , Asian Ecology Section , Human Ecology Section, Applied Ecology Section
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