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Stakeholder Updates

How to Include High Conservation Values into National Forest Stewardship Standards

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

IC COMMS Brazil (© FSC GD Arturo Escobar)© FSC GD Arturo Escobar

A draft guide to help standard development groups to identify, manage, and monitor high conservation values (HCVs) in their country is open for consultation from 7 November 2017 to 5 January 2018.

Creating a national forest stewardship standard is a straightforward process, but when it comes to applying Principle 9 of the FSC Principles and Criteria – Maintenance of high conservation value forests – ensuring quality and consistency is proving to be a challenge.

Standard development groups and certification bodies are invited to participate in a 90-day consultation to let us know whether they feel our new draft guide on including HCVs in national forest stewardship standards is streamlined, aligned with the global strategy, and will increase quality and consistency in forest management practice.

Developing national standards

There are over 80 countries working to transfer their national standards from version 4 of the Principles and Criteria to version 5. Some 10 countries have already finished, or are at the last stages of finishing the process. Of the remaining 70 countries, about 40 have a chamber balanced standard development group, usually supported by an FSC national or regional office. In the other 30 countries, where there is usually no FSC network presence, standards are being developed by certification bodies, resulting in interim national standards.

The HCV framework explained

When creating national forest stewardship standards, standard development groups are tasked with creating a tool for the identification, management, and monitoring of high conservation values in the country. To satisfy Principle 9 in an audit, forest managers in the field need to have an excellent national standard, and therefore a useful HCV framework.

Improving quality and consistency

Principle 9 is about identifying, managing, and conserving high conservation values through developing an HCV framework. The draft guidance document addresses this issue by creating a user-friendly template that is easily and uniformly understood by users. National standard development groups, especially those transferring from version 4 to version 5 of the Principles and Criteria, can use this guidance to help them meet Principle 9.


If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please contact Diana Franco, d.franco@fsc.org

Participate in the consultation now