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