Lucifer Dékou-Dékou Biological Reserve

Lucifer Dékou-Dékou Biological Reserve
Map showing the location of Lucifer Dékou-Dékou Biological Reserve
Map showing the location of Lucifer Dékou-Dékou Biological Reserve
LocationFrench Guiana, France
Nearest citySaint-Laurent-du-Maroni
Coordinates4°38′42″N 53°56′15″W / 4.6450°N 53.9375°W / 4.6450; -53.9375Coordinates: 4°38′42″N 53°56′15″W / 4.6450°N 53.9375°W / 4.6450; -53.9375
Area643.73 km2 (248.55 sq mi)[1]
Established11 December 1995[2]
Governing bodyNational Forests Office

The Lucifer Dékou-Dékou Biological Reserve (French: Réserve biologique intégrale de Lucifer Dékou Dékou) is a wilderness area in French Guiana, France. The reserve is located in the communes of Apatou and Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni. It is the largest wilderness area of France, and consists of two separate parts, two mountain ranges covered in tropical rainforest; to the north are the Lucifer Mountains, to the south are the Dékou-Dékou Mountains [fr].[3] Controversially, the Montagne d'Or mine, the biggest mining project in France, is located in between the two ranges.[4][5][6]


The Dékou-Dékou Mountains form an east–west ridge consisting of two plateaus separated by a little hill. The mountains rises to 565 metres (1,854 ft). The northern side is a moderate slope with numerous ravines. The southern side is a steep drop.[7] The forests on the slopes are interrupted by bamboo and grass plains.[8]

The Lucifer Mountains rise to more than 500 metres (1,600 ft), and form a vast plateau covered in forests which are home to many rare species.[3]

The wilderness area is home to a great variety of birds. 272 species have been identified and include the golden-olive woodpecker, the white bellbird and the blue-backed tanager. Two endemic species to the Guiana Shield are the sharpbill and the sooty-headed tyrannulet.[3]

On 27 July 2012, Lucifer Dékou-Dékou became a protected area.[9]

Gold mining

The Montage d'Or mine located between the wilderness area marked in cyan

Gold mining in the area started in 1875 when Paul Isnard discovered gold.[5] Between 1996 and 1999, Columbus Gold, as of 2020 known as Orea Mining Corporation, started to explore the area.[10]

Montagne d'Or mine, a massive gold mining project covering 190 square kilometres (73 sq mi) was developed, and is the biggest mining project in France.[4][6] The project is considered controversial, and has resulted in protests by environmental groups. Emmanuel Macron distanced himself from the project in 2019,[11] however the battle has moved to the courts, and is as of February 2021 ongoing.[12] The debate about whether the project can continue, has attracted garimpeiros, illegal gold miners, to the area.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Lucifer Dekou Dekou". Protected Planet. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  2. ^ "FR24GUF01 - Lucifer Dekou Dekou". Inventaire National du Patrimoine Naturel (in French). Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "La réserve biologique intégrale de Lucifer Dékou-Dékou". National Forests Office (in French). Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Non à la mine d'or industrielle en Guyane !". Sauvons La Foret (in French). Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "Guyane : or-pillage d'état". L'âge de faire (in French). 3 April 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b Matthieu Jublin (7 May 2019). "en Guyane jugé "incompatible" avec les exigences environnementales ?". La Chaîne Info (in French). Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Massif Dekou Dekou" (PDF). DEAL de Guyane (in French). Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  8. ^ Jean-Jacques de Granville & Michel Hoff (January 1991). "Introduction à la flore et végétation de la région de Paul-Isnard : Massif Lucifer - Massif Dékou-Dékou". Cayenne: Institut de recherche pour le développement. p. 2.
  9. ^ "Arrêté du 27 juillet 2012 portant création de la réserve biologique intégrale de Lucifer Dékou Dékou (Guyane)" (PDF). Inventaire National du Patrimoine Naturel (in French). 27 July 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  10. ^ "French Guiana". Archived from the original on 22 August 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  11. ^ "« Montagne d'or » en Guyane : le gouvernement est-il vraiment clair sur sa position ?". Le Monde (in French). 27 May 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Projet montagne d'or, en Guyane : un recours contre la décision du tribunal administratif de Cayenne a été déposé". Ministère de la Transition écologique (in French). 3 February 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
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