Complex effects of telecouplings on forest dynamics: An agent-based modeling approach

Hongbo Yang*, Arika Ligmann-Zielinska, Yue Dou, Min Gon Chung, Jindong Zhang, Jianguo Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Rural areas are increasingly subject to the effects of telecouplings (socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances) whereby their human and natural dynamics are linked to socioeconomic and environmental drivers operating far away, such as the growing demand for labor and ecosystem services in cities. Although there have been many studies evaluating the effects of telecouplings, telecouplings in those studies were often investigated separately, and how telecouplings may interact and affect dynamics of rural coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) jointly was rarely evaluated. In this study, we developed an agent-based model and simulated the impacts of two globally common telecouplings, nature-based tourism and labor migration, on forest dynamics of a rural CHANS, China’s Wolong Nature Reserve (Wolong). Nature-based tourism and labor migration can facilitate forest recovery, and the predicted forest areas in Wolong in 2030 would be reduced by 26.2 km2 (6.8%) and 23.9 km2 (6.2%), respectively, without their effects. However, tourism development can significantly reduce the probability of local households to have member(s) outmigrate to work in cities and decrease the positive impact of labor migration on forest recovery. Our simulations show that the interaction between tourism and labor migration can reduce the potential forest recovery by 3.5 km2 (5.0%) in 2030. Our study highlights that interactions among different telecouplings can generate significant impacts on socioeconomic and environmental outcomes and should be jointly considered in the design, management, and evaluation of telecouplings for achieving sustainable development goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalEarth Interactions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2022


  • Asia
  • Coupled models
  • Deforestation
  • Social Science
  • Teleconnections


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