Mapping for change in Western Africa: the case of the Regional W...

Mapping for change in Western Africa: the case of the Regional W Park (Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger)


Federica Burini
University of Bergamo,
Email: [email protected]

Participatory cartographic systems are more and more spreading in environmental cooperation projects for the application of the principle of governance. In fact, they are used for making local communities participate to decisional processes concerning environmental issues. Nowadays, there is a strong interest towards technical aspects, but a weak attention towards their communicative issues. For this reason, by the use of the theory of cartographic semiosis, I will try to reflect on their role in showing the identity values of territory. In particular, I will consider the context of an African protected area showing how it is possible to conjugate participatory mapping and local control over natural resource management. By this approach, it is possible to analyse different information levels concerning territory organisation, land use, sacred areas protection, interethnic relations and power issues. The paper will show some examples of participatory mapping realised during the research for the ParcW/ECOPAS Programme, in some villages located in the Park buffer zone and the GIS cartography realised for the Park Management Plan.