Sparsely populated areas are an important stake in today’s world. They hold most of the available natural resources, deliver fundamental environmental services but also are more and more viewed as having an intrinsic value. Those areas are the object of an external governance since urban societies to which they are administratively and legally bound tend to rule on their exploration (being the markets which buy the natural resources) as well as on their protection (by voting environmental codes, rules or laws). This external governance and the reactions (positive and negative) that it generates must be analyzed in order to gain a better understanding of its mechanisms and outcomes.
The GUYINT project aims at contributing to such an approach by focusing on the Guianas plateau, especially the department of French Guiana and the Amapá state in Brazil. Those areas are very sparsely populated and they host a vast array of natural resources, as well as high environmental stakes. Since the beginning of the 2000s, they are the object of an intense preservation policy, which conflicts with the practices and interests of local economic groups such as those linked with illegal mining. What’s more, the participation of Indigenous and traditional populations to the definition and enforcement of environmental rules is also an issue. Finally, opinions about the environment at a regional scale, for instance in Cayenne and in Macapá, may differ a lot form those in Paris or in Brasília, leading to conflicts about the environmental governance’s objectives. Hence, the Guianas plateau allows to approach the different scales, conflicts and interactions included inside the question of the governance of sparsely populated areas.
The GUYINT project is structured around four thematic work packages which will each tackle a facet of the general question: 1. Production and use of geographical information, focusing especially on environmental information; 2. Definition and enforcement of environmental preservation policy; 3. Exploration of natural resources, with a focus on mining; 4. The strategies of local populations, especially Indigenous communities. All of them will provide feedback to a fifth work package which will elaborate a theory of the governance of sparsely populated areas and confront it with the case of the Pima county, in the US, where the same dynamics as the Guianas plateau were registered historically. Regarding the methodology, the GUYINT project will rely on a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches based on primary data (gathered through interviews, questionnaires and field missions) and secondary data (especially GIS information produced by the stakeholders). Combining the methods and the final comparison with the case of Pima county, the GUYINT project expects to improve the initial conceptual framework laid out during the project’s elaboration. During the project’s execution, a strong emphasis will be given to fieldwork, to the interaction between researchers involved in the different work packages as well as to the exchange with stakeholders through ad hoc meeting and seminaries.
The GUYINT project will be carried out by a number of researchers from several French and Brazilian universities and research centers. It will be coordinated by the Iglobes Research unit (UMI 3157). Several stakeholders are also partners, such as the Armed forces in French Guiana, the Parc Amazonien de Guyane ou the Tumucumaque National Park in Brazil. Thus, results will immediately be valorized among those institutions, giving a research-action dimension to the project. Papers will also be written and submitted to international journals by each thematic work package and also by the theoretical WP in order to reach the highest possible level of scientific dissemination.
Monsieur François-Michel Le TOURNEAU (UMI Iglobes CNRS)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
CNRS DR PARIS MICHEL ANGE CNRS DR PARIS MICHEL ANGE
OHMI Pima Observatoire Homme/milieux international de Pima county
CREDA Centre de Recherche et de Documentation des Amériques (UMR 7227)
OHM Oyapock Observatoire Hommes/Milieux "Oyapock"
EVS Environnement Ville Société (UMR5600)
PASSAGES Passages UMR 5319
PRODIG Pôle de recherche pour l'organisation et la diffusion de l'information géographique (UMR8586)
LEEISA Laboratoire Ecologie, Environnement, Interactions des systèmes amazoniens USR 3456
UMI 3157 UMI Iglobes CNRS
Help of the ANR 238,464 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2017 - 48 Months