Carbon policy is a fascinating topic in geography and political ecology, because carbon is a new exchangeable good, which links the local to the international arenas through a complex set of instruments, norms, and institutions. In this paper, after explaining my theoretical and conceptual framework rooted in Africanist geography and currents of political ecology, I analyze the responses of local actors (knowledge, practices, logic, and strategies) to environmental policies and consider the effects of new mechanisms, upon local dynamics in Africa. I focus my attention on the impacts of mangrove reforestation policies on women, who harvest shellfish. My research, conducted over 35 years on coastal mangroves in Africa and Madagascar, provides me with examples. Through a long-term approach to the perception of mangroves and the changing modes of policies, I highlight the weight of imperialism and neo-liberalism and analyze types of environmental injustice against mangrove harvesters, particularly the women, who are the most directly concerned by the preservation of their heritage and are rarely recognized as stakeholders in environmental policies that are defined internationally and implemented at national and local levels. They are not informed (or are deliberately kept unware) of new devices such as REDD+. They have lost their rights of access to the reforested mangrove areas. Carbon policy requires comparative and empirical research, giving voice to local actors, especially women, about their perceptions of policies and actions. The approaches in terms of political ecology must be combined with analysis of the bio-ecological and socio-cultural dynamics of the mangrove.
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