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Journal Articles GeoJournal Year : 2022

Living on an ever-changing coast: French Guiana populations facing coastal mobility

Abstract

This article examines how the populations of French Guiana have, since the colonization period until today, inhabited the coast, in particular the cheniers close to the coast, whereas these spaces are subject to intense changes - colonization and destruction of the mangrove ecosystem, erosion, modification of the estuaries - which have significant consequences for living conditions and access to natural resources. The interdisciplinary approach brought together historians, geographers, geomorphologists, ecologists and anthropologists. Three contrasted areas were studied: Awala-Yalimapo, a Kali'na Amerindian village located at the Maroni estuary, the savannas region, between Sinnamary and Iracoubo where the Creole peasantry flourished, and finally, the particular case of the city of Kourou, built from the 1960s by the sea to house the engineers and technicians of the Guiana Space Center. This paper aims to propose a reflection on mobility and adaptability of the traditional habitat of the Amerindian and Creole populations, based on the collective appropriation of the land, and what could be described as a light approach to development. On the contrary, Kourou was built with a relationship to the sea largely imported from metropolitan France at a time when private property became the norm in French Guiana. The city is now facing serious erosion problems. As we question how to inhabit the coastline at a time when global change is likely to bring rapid transformations, knowing this history can be a valuable source of reflection for future coastal management strategies.
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Dates and versions

hal-03861784 , version 1 (02-12-2022)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Marianne Palisse, Gérard Collomb, Dennis Lamaison, Valérie Morel, Philippe Cuny, et al.. Living on an ever-changing coast: French Guiana populations facing coastal mobility. GeoJournal, 2022, ⟨10.1007/s10708-022-10694-5⟩. ⟨hal-03861784⟩
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