Despite Macron's pleas over Amazon, French Guiana faces its own forest threats


For many years, French leaders have liked to pose on the international scene as potential saviours of the Amazon, as we have just witnessed at the recent G7 summit in Biarritz with the diplomatic spat between President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro over forest fires. President François Mitterrand started the trend back at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. But alongside the diplomatic posturing there is also the reality of what is happening in French Guiana, an overseas region of France that lies just to the north-east of the Amazon rainforest. As Marion Briswalter reports from Cayenne in Guiana, what is happening on the ground in this French corner of South America reflects less well on Paris's stewardship of the environment.

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Seen from the sky, it is an astonishing sight. French Guiana, an overseas département - county - and region of France, is a vast, seemingly unending green space which is home to more than 70 types of forest habitat. This land to the north-east of the Amazon contains one of only three or four complete tropical mountain forest habitats that remain in the world.