Telecoupling has its roots in Jack Liu's decades-long research projects in southwestern China's Wolong Nature Reserve. Research on coupled human and natural systems -- with the belief that both the needs of people and nature must be understood and met to achieve sustainability. “Telecoupling of Human and Natural Systems” debuted at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting as a symposium led by Liu in February 2011.
Further research has introduced the integrated framework of metacoupling: human-nature interactions within a system (intracoupling), between distant systems (telecoupling), and between adjacent systems (pericoupling). A metacoupled system is a set of two or more coupled systems that interact internally as well as nearby and far away, facilitated by agents affected by various causes with various effects.
The uses of telecoupling and its intellectual offspring were further explored at a 2019 AAAS symposium "Sustainable Development Goals: New Science Balancing a Hyperconnected World" in Washington, DC., led by CSIS members and collaborators.