Spillover systems in a telecoupled Anthropocene: typology, methods, and governance for global sustainability

Jianguo Liu*, Yue Dou, Mateus Batistella, Edwards Challies, Thomas Connor, Cecilie Friis, James Millington, Esther Parish, Chelsie Romulo, Ramon Felipe Bicudo da Silva, Heather Triezenberg, Hongbo Yang, Zhiqiang Zhao, Karl Zimmerer, falk Huettmann, Michael L Treglia, Zeenatul Basher, Min Gon Chung, Anna Herzberger, Andrea LenschowAltaaf Mechiche-Alami, Jens Newig, James Roche, Jing Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)


The world has become increasingly telecoupled through distant flows of information, energy, people, organisms, goods, and matter. Recent advances suggest that telecouplings such as trade and species invasion often generate spillover systems with profound effects. To untangle spillover complexity, we make the first attempt to develop a typology of spillover systems based on six criteria: flows from and to sending and receiving systems, distances from sending and receiving systems, types of spillover effects, sizes of spillover systems, roles of agents in spillover systems, and the origin of spillover systems. Furthermore, we highlight a portfolio of qualitative and quantitative methods for detecting the often-overlooked spillover systems. To effectively govern spillover systems for global sustainability, we propose an overall goal (minimize negative and maximize positive spillover effects) and three general principles (fairness, responsibility, and capability).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-69
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent opinion in environmental sustainability
Early online date5 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


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