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High Conservation Values

Protecting areas of high social and environmental significance

High Conservation Values (© FSC A.C.)© FSC A.C.High conservation values (HCVs) are areas of forest or other vegetation types that have particularly high importance for social or environmental reasons.

Principle 9 of the FSC Principles and Criteria sets out the FSC requirements for the identification and management of HCVs, which must be maintained or enhanced in FSC certified forests.


The Forest Program is responsible for developing guidance for forest managers on the identification, management and monitoring of HCVs. 

Two guidance documents have been recently approved to support the identification, management and monitoring of High Conservation Values. You can read these documents in several languages by clicking on the links below.

The Forest Program also advises national Standards Development Groups on how to interpret Principle 9 for their national context, through the process of development of National Forest Stewardship Standards.

Owners of small and low-intensity managed forests (SLIMFs) face particular challenges when it comes to implementing HCV requirements. The Forest Program has published a step-by-step guide for managers and owners of SLIMFs to help them identify and manage HCVs within their forests.

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000100