Society depends on land for food, feed, fibre and energy, but the detrimental outcomes of unsustainable land practices are becoming apparent. Ensuring sustainable land use is a key challenge of the 21st century yet hard to achieve in an increasingly interconnected world where policies, consumer demands and environmental change in one region may affect how land is used in far-away places. We face a significant knowledge gap regarding the processes related to land use that link distant places – or telecouplings – and how these processes could be governed towards sustainability. This knowledge gap means that companies, institutions and policy makers lack tools to ensure sustainable land use in a globalised world.
COUPLED addresses this knowledge gap by educating researchers and entrepreneurs in assessing and governing land use in a systemic way, accounting for the opportunities and threats arising from distal links between Europe and other regions. Embedded in an interdisciplinary network, the overall objective of COUPLED is to operationalise the new concept of telecouplings to support sustainable governance of human-environment interactions under global change. COUPLED delivers rich analytic tools, new understandings of the functioning of globalised socio-ecological systems, and identify where and how private and public organisations can intervene to make sustainable land use decisions, avoiding unwanted outcomes. The network gathers partners across the range of natural and social sciences to ensure excellence in scientific, institutional and technological innovation.
Working closely with large companies, SMEs, NGOs, international organisations and dministrative bodies, the ESRs learn how to move between science and practice, become highly attractive to employers, and build successful careers in research, consulting, industry or governance. The project thus contributes to Europe’s leading position for a transformation towards sustainable land use.
The Early Stage Researcher working at the Institute of Social Ecology is focused on telecouplings related to trade with biomass-based products and uses a variety of biophysical socioecological indicators such as the embodied HANPP and others.