Geovisualizing, representing, analyzing, modeling, and simulating

Complex Human-Environment Systems (CHES)

for improved envisioning, understanding, and planning



Telecoupled Human and Natural Systems Framework (Telecoupling Framework)


Telecouplings indicate socioeconomic and environmental interactions between two or more areas over (often relatively large) distances (Liu et al. 2013, 2015), and such interactions may take the form of labor migration, tourism, consumption of goods manufactured and transported from afar, and so on. This framework is intellectually connected to the theory of weak ties and social network analysis (Granovetter 1973), which suggest weak ties may translate to strong results at the macro-level under certain conditions such as through connecting groups (Friedkin 1982; Yakubovich 2005).

This integrated framework aims to account for and internalize many socioeconomic and environmental externalities (spillover effects) across space and over time in an increasingly connected world. The framework consists of five major cross-related components: 1) multiple coupled human and natural systems (CHANS), 2) flows of material, information, and energy among systems, 3) agents that facilitate the flows, 4) causes that drive the flows, and 5) consequences that result from the flows. Many CHES systems exactly bear these components, and we are integrating it with other related theories, frameworks, and methods to address many pressing topics such as hazards mitigation & recovery, human decision making and response, landscape planning, and ecosystem restoration.

Friedkin, N. (1982). Information flow through strong and weak ties in intraorganizational social networks. Social Networks 3: 273C285.

Granovetter, M.S. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology 78: 1360C1380.

Liu, J., V. Hull, M. Batistella, R. DeFries, T. Dietz, F. Fu, T. W.Hertel, R. C. Izaurralde, E. F. Lambin, S. Li., L. Martinelli, W. McConnell, E. Moran, R. Naylor, Z. Ouyang, K. Polenske, A. Reenberg, G. de Miranda Rocha, C. Simmons, P. Verburg, P. Vitousek, F. Zhang, and C. Zhu. 2013. Framing sustainability in a telecoupled world. Ecology and Society 18(2):26.

Liu, J., V. Hull, J. Luo, W. Yang, W. Liu, A. Vi?a, C. Vogt, Z. Xu, H. Yang, J. Zhang, L. An, X. Chen, S. Li, W. McConnell, Z. Ouyang, W. Xu, and H. Zhang (2015). Multiple telecouplings and their complex interrelationships. Ecology and Society 20(3):44.

Yakubovich, V. (2005). Weak ties, information, and influence: How workers find jobs in a local Russian labor market. American Sociological Review 70: 408C421.