Understanding conservation telecouplings

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany)

Land use is the number one driver of the global extinction crisis. Understanding how land use affects biodiversity, what the trade-offs between land use and conservation are, and which conservation measures effectively mitigate biodiversity loss is therefore important. Conservation initiatives and funding often come to regions in need of conservation from external places, both within countries and beyond, e.g., via large-scale international conservation organizations or payment for ecosystem services schemes. This forges conservation telecouplings.

This research project will:

  • Map conservation lands (including public and private reserves, indigenous areas, ecosystem services areas) and associated conservation actors for the South American cattle/soybean deforestation frontiers (Amazonia, Gran Chaco, Cerrado).
  • Quantify how changes in the networks of capital and information that link actors in Europe and elsewhere to these conservation landscapes relate to changes in the extent and status of conservation lands.
  • Compile indicators on deforestation, protected area effectiveness, and land prices to evaluate how this affects competition between conservation and other land uses in Europe and South America’s arc of deforestation.

In doing so, the research project will create a basic understanding of telecouplings activated through conservation, develop tools to link place-based and network-based analyses, and gain insights on how conservation organizations and policy makers can avoid unwanted outcomes and spill-over effects.


Siyu Qin

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Geography Department
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany

“My research will provide information for better decisions on effective and just conservation in dynamic landscapes with multiple stakeholders, in a telecoupled world.”

Siyu Qin

Publications …

Buchadas, A.*, Qin*, P. Meyfroidt & T. Kuemmerle (2022). Conservation frontiers: understanding the geographic expansion of conservation. Journal of Land Use Science. https://doi.org/10.1080/1747423X.2021.2018516 (*co-first authors)

Persson, J., Qin & J. Zähringer (2022). Patterning conservation flows: How formal and informal networks shape transnational conservation practice. Conservation and Society AOP:1-12. https://doi.org/10.4103/cs.cs_79_21

Qin, S., T. Kuemmerle, P. Meyfroidt, M. Napolitano Ferreira, G.I. Gavier Pizarro, M.E. Periago, T.N.P. dos Reis, A. Romero-Muñoz, A. Yanosky (2022). The geography of international conservation interest in South American deforestation frontiers. Conservation Letters: e12859. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12859

Qin, S., R.E. Golden Kroner, C. Cook, A.T. Tesfaw, R. Braybrook, C.M. Rodriguez, C. Poelking, M.B. Mascia (2019). Protected area downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement as a threat to iconic protected areas. Conservation Biology 33 (6): 1275-1285. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13365