A novel telecoupling framework to assess social relations across spatial scales for ecosystem services research

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Berta Martín-López
  • María R. Felipe-Lucia
  • Elena M. Bennett
  • Albert Norström
  • Garry Peterson
  • Tobias Plieninger
  • Christina C. Hicks
  • Francis Turkelboom
  • Marina García-Llorente
  • Sander Jacobs
  • Sandra Lavorel
  • Bruno Locatelli

Access to ecosystem services and influence on their management are structured by social relations among actors, which often occur across spatial scales. Such cross-scale social relations can be analysed through a telecoupling framework as decisions taken at local scales are often shaped by actors at larger scales. Analyzing these cross-scale relations is critical to create effective and equitable strategies to manage ecosystem services. Here, we develop an analytical framework –i.e. the ‘cross-scale influence-dependence framework’- to facilitate the analysis of power asymmetries and the distribution of ecosystem services among the beneficiaries. We illustrate the suitability of this framework through its retrospective application across four case studies, in which we characterize the level of dependence of multiple actors on a particular set of ecosystem services, and their influence on decision-making regarding these services across three spatial scales. The ‘cross-scale influence-dependence framework’ can improve our understanding of distributional and procedural equity and thus support the development of policies for sustainable management of ecosystem services.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2019