FSC International – Forests for All Forever

Facts & Figures

200,025,086 ha certified
38,333 CoC certificates
1,639 FM/CoC certificates

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High Conservation Values and Biodiversity
What are high conservation values and what do they mean for biodiversity?

© FSC GD - Arturo Escobar

From rare or endemic species to sacred sites, all natural habitats – especially forests – inherit conservation values. Those biological, ecological, social, or cultural values of outstanding significance are known as high conservation values, or HCVs.

We use the HCV approach – identifying, managing, and monitoring – in our certification standards (think FSC-certified forests or products) and more generally as a resource for conservation planning. FSC seeks to maintain, enhance, and promote the importance of these values.

Paying attention to high conservation values does not mean that you have to turn everything into a conservation area though. For example, some global retailers and banks have integrated HCV requirements into their procurement and investment policies.

A key part of HCVs is ensuring activity in forests does not have a negative impact on biodiversity – that is, the diversity within and between species, and the ecosystem as a whole, including forests. For FSC, maintaining and implementing management of biodiversity and HCVs go hand-in-hand.

As a small or community producer you can check your current activities are not affecting the overall biodiversity of your area and find out how HCVs apply to you. Follow the good practice guide for identifying HCVs across different ecosystems and production systems and use this as your starting point.

FSC & CITES

The Forest Stewardship Council and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fau­na and Flora (CITES) have different but overlapping missions. FSC focuses on sustainable forest management in a broad sense: environmental, social, and economic sustainability. CITES aims to limit and regulate international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants so that such trade does not threaten the survival of the species concerned. The overlap clearly exists with the common goal to prevent extinction of species living in forest-related ecosystems. Download the full paper below to learn about how FSC effectively assists CITES in achieving its objectives.

  • Common Guidance for the identification of High Conservation Values English
    Common Guidance for the identification of High Conservation Values English
  • Guia Generica para la identificacion de Altos Valores de Conservacion Español
    Guia Generica para la identificacion de Altos Valores de Conservacion Español
  • Common Guidance for the management and monitoring of High Conservation Values English
    Common Guidance for the management and monitoring of High Conservation Values English
  • FSC and Trade of Endangered Species
    FSC and Trade of Endangered Species