The Telecoupling GeoApp: A Web-GIS application to systematically analyze telecouplings and sustainable development
Applied Geography, 2018
Paul McCord, Francesco Tonini and Jianguo Liu
Global challenges, such as chronic hunger in developing and developed regions, loss of wildlife habitat, and the continuing rise of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, can be addressed only through an integrated approach. The telecoupling concept is one such approach: it explores socioeconomic and environmental interactions among coupled human-natural systems over distances. The telecoupling framework is therefore wellpositioned to provide new insights to persistent global sustainability challenges. To operationalize the framework, we have developed the Telecoupling GeoApp, a new web-based component of the Telecoupling Toolbox that provides researchers and practitioners with a useful platform to address globally important issues such as international trade, species invasion, biodiversity conservation, and land-use change. The GeoApp features mapping and geospatial analysis tools to visualize and quantify the five major interrelated components of the telecoupling framework (systems, flows, agents, causes, and effects). In this paper, we demonstrate the GeoApp's functionality by applying it to a case study in which distant systems interact across space and time: the Brazil-China soybean telecoupling. We conclude by highlighting the advantages of the Telecoupling GeoApp in addressing global sustainability challenges. It is our hope that this web application will be valuable to a range of users exploring telecouplings and outcomes across distant coupled human-natural systems for achieving sustainable development goals.