Governing Telecoupled Resource Systems for Environmental Justice
The research cluster "Governing Telecoupled Resource Systems for Environmental Justice" analyses how current dynamics in global resource regimes affect local and regional systems of land use and how governance strategies in different arenas can shape these dynamics. The focus is on three important global dynamics: large-scale investments in land and natural resources, climate change and adaptation, and initiatives for the conservation and protection of natural resources. Different work packages make conceptual, empirical and methodical contributions to scientific and policy debates about land use change and regional development. We assess these changes from the perspective of environmental justice and analyze options to transform current dynamics in polycentric systems. The cluster is an initiative of the Institute of Geography (GIUB) and collaborates closely with the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern. The study regions of the clusters' researchers are in countries of Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America and in Switzerland.
- Concepts and analytical framework: Advance frameworks of telecoupling, social-ecological systems and institutional analysis. Integrate the telecoupling concept with the concept of networks of action situations (interlinked social spaces of action). Mapping networks of action sitations allows us to better analyze complex overlaps of social spaces of collective and individual action and interdependent scales of action. It provides an approach to complement the analysis of “flows” between multiple SES with an analysis of the interlinked social spaces in which land-use-relevant decisions are taken.
- System Knowledge: The cluster advances the theoretical and empirical foundations for identifying, describing and explaining varying degrees of environmental justice in resource regimes as large-scale resource investments, climate change and protection and conservation of natural resources create new forms of telecoupling.
- Target Knowledge: The cluster applies and refines the concept of environmental justice as a distinct and comprehensive set of evaluative criteria for assessing how sustainability trade-offs and competing claims on land and natural resources are governed in telecoupled SES.
- Transformation Knowledge: The cluster analyzes and develops contextually tailored governance options for more environmentally just policy and management options in multiple and interlinked spaces of action as large-scale resource investments, climate change and protection and conservation of natural resources create new forms of telecoupling.
- Research Approach: The cluster advances a diagnostic approach to the governance of social-ecological systems. Moreover, it incorporates an institutional diagnostic approach in transdisciplinary research and assesses opportunities and challenges of this.
- Methods: The cluster advances methods for pattern-recognition and up-scaling based on case studies (in particular meta-analyses of cases and case studies). It aims to advance large-N databases based on collaborations across case-based research projects.
- Tools and data: Based on the advanced system and transformation knowledge, the cluster provides an indicator set for assessing varying degrees of environmental injustices, risk factors and opportunities in resource governance (including measures for the consistency of the indicators). Collaborate with publically accessible databases to assess and refine the validity of indicators, coverage of cases, and coverage of telecoupling processes.
The work of the cluster is organized in six work packages:
Work Package 1 develops the conceptual foundations (objectives 1 and 3) and the diagnostic research approach (objective 5).
Work Package 2-4 analyse three central, current dynamics on in global resource regimes: large scale investment in land and natural resources; climate change adaptation; and initiatives for the conservation and protection of natural resources. Per work package, we advance theoretical and empirical knowledge, specify the concept of environmental justice and assess transformation potentials for more just land use systems (objectives 2-4).
Work Package 5 contributes to advance methods for analysis of archetypical patterns based on case studies (objective 6).
Work Package 6 contains all activities of coordination, communication and events.
The following projects are thematically and personally associated with the cluster:
- Archetypes of large-scale land acquisitions: Towards generalization of case study knowledge for informed soil governance (ATLAS project). SNF-Projekt, NFP68 "Soil as a Resource". Contact: Stephan Rist, Christoph Oberlack.
- Managing telecoupled landscapes for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services and poverty alleviation. SNF & DEZA: R4D-Project. Contact: Peter Messerli, Flurina Schneider.
- Towards Food Sustainability: Reshaping the coexistence of different food systems in South America and Africa. SNF & DEZA: R4D-Project. Contact: Stephan Rist, Johanna Jacobi.
- Large-Scale Land Acquisitions and Gender in Africa: The Impact of Institutional Change and Land Investments on Gender Relations and Food Security. SNF. Contact: Jean-David Gerber, Tobias Haller.
- The Effects of Large-Scale Land Acquisition on Households in Rural Communities of the Global South. SNIS. Contact: Jean-David Gerber, Stephan Rist.
- African food, agriculture, land and natural resource dynamics, in the context of global agro-food-energy system changes (AFGROLAND). Belmont. Contact: Markus Giger, Peter Messerli.
- UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Mountain Development. Institute of Geography and CDE, University of Bern. World Heritage Center. Contact: Stephan Rist, Boniface Kiteme (CETRAD, Kenya).
- World Nature Forum Naters, Steering Committee. Contact: Urs Wiesmann, Rolf Weingartner, Stefan Brönnimann, Hanspeter Liniger, Karina Liechti.
- Langfrist Monitoring der Weltnaturerberegion Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch (SAJA). Long-term mandate of the foundation SAJA. Contact: Urs Wiesmann, Karina Liechti.
- CGIAR-CCAFS Arbeitsgruppe "Effective governance mechanisms, indicators and cross-scale linkages for food systems under climate change". Contact: Tom Evans (Indiana University, USA), Christoph Oberlack.
- Protected areas in a telecoupling world. Own project. Contact: Sébastien Boillat.
- Land Initiative UniBE. Universität Bern. Own project. Contact: Tobias Haller, Christoph Oberlack.
The study regions of the cluster's reseachers are located in different countries of Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America and in Switzerland.
Barnett AJ, Partelow S, Frey U, García-Lozano A, Mancha-Cisneros MdM, Oberlack C, Ratajczyk E, Smith H, Villamayor-Tomás S, Whitney CK. 2020. Defining success in the commons: addressing problem orientations, multi-dimensionality, norms and trade-offs. International Journal of the Commons (in press).
Boillat S, Martin A, Adams T, Daniel-Ortmann D, Llopis J, Zepharovich E, Oberlack C, Sonderegger G, Bottazzi P, Ifejika Speranza C, Pascual U. 2020. Why telecoupling needs to account for environmental justice. Journal of Land Use Science 15(1), 1-10.
Oberlack C, Sietz D, Eisenack K. (Eds.) 2020. Archetype analysis in sustainability research. Special Feature in Ecology & Society.
Villamayor-Tomas S, Oberlack C, Epstein G, Roggero M, Partelow S, Kellner E, Tschopp M, Cox M. 2020. Using case study data to understand SES interactions: a model-centered metaanalysis of SES Framework applications. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 44, 48-57.
Eisenack K, Villamayor-Tomas S, Epstein G, Kimmich C, Magliocca N, Manuel-Navarrete D, Oberlack C, Roggero M, Sietz D. 2019. Design and quality criteria for archetype analysis. Ecology and Society 24(3), 6.
Kellner E. 2019. Social Acceptance of a Multi-Purpose Reservoir in a Recently Deglaciated Landscape in the Swiss Alps. Sustainability, 11(14), 3819.
Kellner E, Oberlack C, Gerber JD. 2019. Polycentric governance compensates for incoherence of resource regimes: The case of water uses under climate change in Oberhasli, Switzerland. Environmental Science and Policy 100, 126-135.
Oberlack, C., Sietz D, de Bremond A, Bürgi-Bonanomi E, Dell’Angelo J, Eisenack K, Ellis E, Epstein G, Giger M, Heinimann A, Kimmich C, Kok MTJ, Manuel-Navarrete D, Meyfroidt P, Messerli P, Václavík T, Villamayor-Tomás S. 2019. Archetype Analysis in Sustainability Research: Meanings, Motivations, and Evidence-Based Policy-Making. Ecology & Society 24(2), 26.
Pedde S, Kok K, Hölscher K, Oberlack C, Harrison P, Leemans R. 2019. Archetyping shared socioeconomic pathways across scales: an application to Central Asia and European case studies. Ecology and Society 24(4), 30.
Van Bers C, Delaney A, Cramer L, Eakin H, Eriksen S, Evans T, Jones L, Korhonen-Kurki K, Oberlack C, Pahl-Wostl C, Purdon M, Vasileiou I. 2019. Advancing the research agenda on food systems governance and transformations. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (in press).
Vijge M, Metcalfe R, Walbott L, Oberlack C. 2019. Transforming institutional quality in resource curse contexts. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Myanmar. Resources Policy 61, 200-209.
Björnsen Gurung A, Brunner M, Stähli M, Kellner E, Clivaz M, Reynard E, Douarche M, Gökler G, Schmocker-Fackel P. 2018. Alpine multi-purpose reservoirs: Future potential and relevance. In: Füreder, Leopold; Weingartner, Rolf; Heinrich, Kati; Braun, Valerie; Köck, Günter; Köck, Günter; Lanz, Klaus; Scheurer, Thomas (eds.) Alpine Water – common good or source of conflicts? Proceedings of the Forum Alpinum 2018 & 7th Water Conference. Breitenwang (Tyrol): Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, pp. 77-78.
Boillat S, Gerber JD, Oberlack C, Zähringer J, Ifejika Speranza C, Rist S. 2018. Distant interactions and environmental justice in protected area governance: a telecoupling perspective. Sustainability 10(11), 3954.
Delaney A, Evans T, McGreevy J, Blekking J, Schlachter T, Korhonen-Kurki K, Tamás PA, Crane TA, Eakin H, Förch W, Jones L, Nelson DR, Oberlack C, Purdon M, Rist S. 2018. Governance of food systems across scales in times of social-ecological change: a review of indicators. Food Security 10(2), 287-310.
Eisenack K, Gotgelf A, Kasymov U, Lutz P, Perez P, Oberlack C, Sietz D. 2018. Second research workshop on ‘Archetype analysis in sustainability research’. Workshop Report, 28th Feb.–2nd March 2018, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, DE.
Kellner E, Oberlack C, Gerber JD. 2018. Evolving polycentric climate governance. The case of multifunctional water use in Oberhasli, Switzerland. In: Füreder L, Weingartner R, Heinrich K, Braun V, Köck G, Lanz K, Scheurer T (Eds.) Alpine Water - common good or source of conflicts? Proceedings of the Forum Alpinum 2018 & 7th Water Conference. Breitenwang (Tyrol): Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, p. 79.
Kellner E, Weingartner R. 2018. Chancen und Herausforderungen von Mehrzweckspeichern als Anpassung an den Klimawandel. Wasser Energie Luft 110(2), 101–107.
Lundsgaard-Hansen LM, Schneider F, Zähringer JG, Oberlack C, Myint W, Messerli P. 2018. Whose agency counts in land use decision-making in Myanmar? A comparative analysis of three cases in Tanintharyi Region. Sustainability 10, 3823.
Oberlack C, Boillat S, Brönnimann S, Gerber JD, Heinimann A, Ifejika Speranza C, Messerli P, Rist S, Wiesmann U. 2018. Polycentric governance in telecoupled resource systems. Ecology and Society 23(1), 16.
Oberlack C, Eisenack K. 2018. Archetypical barriers to adapting water governance in river basins to climate change. Journal of Institutional Economics 14(3), 527-555.
Oberlack C, Winiger A, Anesini U. 2018. Workshop on ‘Governance in telecoupled land systems’. Workshop Report, 19th–20th April 2018, University of Bern, CH.
Rist S, Oberlack C, Schneider F (Eds.). 2018. Power, emancipation and justice in natural resource governance. Towards critical and transformative sustainability sciences. Special Issue in Sustainability.
Roggero M, Villamayor-Tomas S, Oberlack C, Eisenack K, Bisaro A, Hinkel J, Thiel A. 2018. Introduction to the special issue on adapting institutions to climate change. Journal of Institutional Economics 14(3), 409-422.
Balvanera P, Calderón-Contreras R, Castro AJ, Felipe-Lucia MR, Geijzendorffer IR, Jacobs S, Martín-López B, Arbieu U, Ifejika Speranza C, Locatelli B, Pérez Harguindeguy N. 2017. Interconnected place-based social–ecological research can inform global sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 29, 1–7.
Boillat S, Scarpa FM, Robson JP, Gasparri I, Aide TM, Dutra Aguiar AP, Anderson LO, Batistella M, Gesteira Fonseca M, Futemma C, Grau HR, Mathez-Stiefel SL, Metzger JP, Balbaud Ometto JPH, Pedlowski MA, Perz SG, Robiglio V, Soler L, Vieira I, Brondizio ES. 2017. Land System Science in Latin America: challenges and perspectives. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 26–27, 37–46.
Oberlack C, Winiger A, Kupferschmied P, Sietz D, Eisenack K. 2017. First research workshop on ‘Archetype analysis in sustainability research’. Workshop Report, 2nd–4th May 2017, University of Bern, CH.
Delaney A, Evans T, McGreevy J, Blekking J, Schlachter T, Korhonen-Kurki K, Tamás PA, Crane TA, Eakin H, Förch W, Jones L, Nelson DR, Oberlack C, Purdon M. 2016. Strengthening the food systems governance evidence base: Supporting commensurability of research through a systematic review of methods (CCAFS Working Paper 167). Frederiksberg, Denmark: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
Oberlack C, Tejada L, Messerli P, Rist S, Giger M. 2016. Sustainable livelihoods in the global land rush? Archetypes of livelihood vulnerability and sustainability potentials. Global Environmental Change 41, 153-171.
Cluster Coordination and PostDocs
- Name / Titel
- Prof. Dr. Jean-David Gerber
- Unit Leader political urbanism and sustainable spatial development
- +41 31 631 88 66
- +41 31 631 52 67
- +41 31 631 52 67
Units and Researchers
- Name / Titel
- Prof. Dr. Stefan Brönnimann
- Unit Leader Climatology
- +41 31 631 88 85
- Name / Titel
- PD Dr. Andreas Heinimann
- Lecturer / Senior Researcher
- +41 31 631 30 61
- Name / Titel
- Prof. Dr. Chinwe Ifejika Speranza
- Executive Director / Unit Leader Land Systems and Sustainable Land Management
- +41 31 631 38 60
- Name / Titel
- Prof. Dr. Peter Messerli
- Professor of Sustainable Development
- +41 31 631 30 60
- Name / Titel
- Prof. Dr. Stephan Rist
- Director of Studies / Lecturer
- +41 31 631 87 68
- Name / Titel
- Prof. Dr. Susan Thieme
- Unit Leader Critical Sustainability Studies
- +41 31 631 88 72
Teaching and Master/Bachelor Theses
Master and Bachelor Theses
The research field of the Cluster offers manifold opportunities for Master and Bachelor theses. Please contact Christoph Oberlack (christoph.oberlack AT giub.unibe.ch) or other members of the cluster.
Universität Bern | Geographisches Institut | Cluster Telecoupled Resource Systems | Hallerstr. 12 | CH-3012 Bern
Tel. +41 31 631 52 67