Co-producing Knowledge for Sustainable Development in Telecoupled Land Systems
Land is at the core of our planet’s sustainable development challenges. Different actors have contesting claims on ecosystem services provided by local land systems. Land-use changes therefore always entail trade-offs in terms of ecosystem service provision. The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offers a normative frame for land system science to produce relevant knowledge for transformation. Such knowledge should include an understanding of social-ecological systems from a systemic as well as a power perspective. Telecoupled interactions between distant systems present an additional challenge to knowledge production requiring methodological innovation. To co-produce evidence for navigating trade-offs inherent to land-use changes, we need to embrace the three knowledge dimensions of systems, target, and transformation knowledge and make use of inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches.
This work was conducted as part of the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development within the project “Managing telecoupled landscapes for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services and poverty alleviation”. It was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (grant number 400440 152167). Elements of this work were undertaken by the first author whilst as a visiting scholar in the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (May 2018–April 2019). We are grateful to the entire project team for inspiring discussions and to the three reviewers and the editor for their constructive comments and support. We thank Marlène Thibault for copyediting our manuscript.
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