Telecoupling visualizations through a network lens: a systematic review

Sonderegger, Gabi; Oberlack, Christoph; Llopis, Jorge C.; Verburg, Peter H.; Heinimann, Andreas (2020). Telecoupling visualizations through a network lens: a systematic review. Ecology and Society, 25(4), p. 47. Resilience Alliance Publications 10.5751/ES-11830-250447

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Telecoupling is an integrative social-ecological framework that has made important contributions to understanding land change processes in a hyperconnected world. Visualizations are a powerful tool to communicate knowledge about telecoupling phenomena. However, little is known about current practices of telecoupling visualization and the challenges involved in visually displaying connections between multiple social-ecological systems. Our research takes stock of existing telecoupling visualizations and provides recommendations for improving current practices. We systematically review 118 visualizations presented in the scientific literature on telecoupling, and assess them in terms of their content and the adopted visualization approaches. To this end, we conceptualize telecoupling visualizations through a network lens. We find that they typically present networks of social-ecological systems, which are linked through flows. Displays of telecoupling connections through actor networks or action situation networks are less frequent. We categorize the existing visualizations into seven main types, which differ in terms of the visual encoding strategies used to represent telecoupling components. We then draw on insights from data visualization literature to reflect critically upon these current practices and provide practical recommendations. Finally, we show that network perspectives are inherent in telecoupling research and visualizations, and may deserve further attention in this field.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Land Systems and Sustainable Land Management (LS-SLM)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Graduate School:

International Graduate School North-South (IGS North-South)

UniBE Contributor:

Sonderegger, Gabi; Oberlack, Christoph; Llopis Sendino, Jorge Claudio and Heinimann, Andreas


900 History > 910 Geography & travel




Resilience Alliance Publications


[803] Cluster: Land Resources




Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

02 Feb 2021 15:24

Last Modified:

22 Apr 2021 14:36

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

The data that support the findings of this study are openly available
in Bern Open Repository and Information System (BORIS) at

Uncontrolled Keywords:

connectivity; data visualization; human-environment interactions; social-ecological systems; telecoupling; visual communication




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