Chinese banana plantations in northern Laos
Chinese banana plantations in northern Laos

Managing Telecoupled Landscapes for the Sustainable Provision of Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation

Project time period:
January, 2015 to December, 2020

The debate about Sustainable Development Goals following the United Nations “Rio+20” reveals the difficulty of simultaneously addressing social and economic development challenges and the degradation of Earth’s life support systems. Land systems in the humid tropics illustrate these challenges prominently. Local people’s land use strategies are facing competition from large-scale land acquisition, logging etc., but also biodiversity conservation. Remote decision-makers reshape flows of ecosystem services to their benefit, whereas the consequences hardly reach them. Land change scientists have recently conceptualized this phenomenon under the term “telecoupling”. Our research project within the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme) pursues the overall goal of devising and testing innovative strategies and institutional arrangements for securing ecosystem service flows and human well-being in and between telecoupled landscapes at study sites in Laos, Myanmar, and Madagascar.


GLP Themes: Telecoupling of land use systems, Land governance, Land change trade-offs for ecosystem services and biodiversity , Land use and conflict

GLP Methods: Co-production and transdisciplinarity, Decision Making, GIS, Interdisciplinary methods, Modelling, Participatory methods, Past land use/historical land use reconstruction, Qualitative social science methods (interviews, observations, document review, surveys), Remote Sensing, Social network analysis, Spatial Analysis, Visualization/Scenarios

Principal Investigator(s)