Reported contributions of the telecoupling framework. Source: Figure generated from own data.

Reported contributions of the telecoupling framework. Source: Figure generated from own data.

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This article illustrates the potential of the telecoupling framework to improve causal attribution in land system science (LSS). We shed light on the distinct analytical approaches that have characterized telecoupling research to date, how these can contribute to LSS with new insights, and whether such insights can improve causal attribution. By re...

Contexts in source publication

Context 1
... belonging to the empirical application of the telecoupling framework more often report on such contributions, followed by studies that combine telecoupling with other theoretical frameworks. Studies that employ telecoupling as a narrative rarely do so ( Figure 5). ...
Context 2
... statements in Figure 5 suggest that the umbrella conceptual framing of telecoupling (mapping distant connections and multiple systems interactions) is the most broadly reported contribution of the framework across all three types of application. In a globalized and interconnected world, it can be difficult to determine which variables should be accounted for as a cause, and which should be accounted for as the effect (cf. the challenge positive feedback loops presented in Table 1). ...
Context 3
... multiple actor relationships is also key in the original framing of telecoupling, but a less frequently reported contribution in the reviewed sample (3 articles; Figure 5). This speaks to the argument by Sonderegger et al. (2020), that the embedded network aspect of telecoupling deserves further testing and operationalization. ...
Context 4
... objective of telecoupling research does not need to be to identify all causes and effects related to a given empirical case of land-use change but to identify which telecoupled relationships generate the largest socio-economic and environmental impacts ( Liu et al., 2014) and to discover more unanticipated, intangible or underlying driving forces (Geist & Lambin, 2002). This is related to the reported strength that telecoupling contributes to illuminating unknown, unexpected, or underlying interactions ( Figure 5). Telecoupling can help identify otherwise overlooked drivers by following flows between agents across systems with complex and fuzzy institutional boundaries. ...
Context 5
... approaches to telecoupling causality are enabled through the framework because it provides methodological flexibility ( Figure 5). The telecoupling framework gives analytical direction for the identification of specific causal relationships between systems and actors through material and immaterial flows, while at the same time providing flexibility to discover alternative patterns ( Figure 5). ...
Context 6
... approaches to telecoupling causality are enabled through the framework because it provides methodological flexibility ( Figure 5). The telecoupling framework gives analytical direction for the identification of specific causal relationships between systems and actors through material and immaterial flows, while at the same time providing flexibility to discover alternative patterns ( Figure 5). As noted in Friis and Nielsen (2017), it allows to flexibly set the institutional and analytical boundaries of the study, while always keeping a focus on the local issue at hand. ...
Context 7
... noted earlier, 30 of the 45 reviewed articles include some level of temporal perspective. However, the ability of the telecoupling framework to identify temporal couplings is not reported in the articles applying the framework more explicitly (Figure 5). The temporal dimension is addressed in the original conceptualization of the telecoupling framework ( Liu et al., 2015). ...
Context 8
... it can be seen as an acknowledgement of the challenges associated with causal attribution (Table 1). Tapping into the strengths reported in Figure 5, the telecoupling framework becomes particularly suited to meet some of these challenges as it disentangles the interconnectedness associated with environmental and social problems involving multiple actors, scales, and locations (multi-causality), the immaterial and indirect flows between actors (potential underlying causes or confounding variables), and the spillover systems of such problems (cumulative and cascading effects). ...