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6 HCV (High Conservation Values) You Need to Know!




As the global population surges towards an estimated 8.5 billion by 2030, the demand for food is escalating, leading to the alarming clearance of natural ecosystems. This, however, comes at a significant cost, contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Addressing this critical issue requires a profound understanding of High Conservation Values (HCVs) and their role in preserving biological, ecological, social, and cultural treasures. In this article, we delve into the six key High Conservation Values that are paramount for sustainable development.


Understanding the HCV Concept:

The High Conservation Value (HCV) concept, as outlined in the HCV Common Guidance Toolkit, identifies areas that possess outstandingly significant or critically important biological, ecological, social, or cultural values. Initially developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in 1999 for forest management certification, the HCVF (High Conservation Value Forest) concept aims to ensure these values' identification, maintenance, and enhancement.


The Six High Conservation Values:


1. HCV 1 - Biological Diversity:

Encompassing concentrations of biological diversity, including endemic, rare, threatened, or endangered species, HCV 1 highlights these ecosystems' global, regional, or national significance.


2. HCV 2 - Intact Forest Landscapes:

This value emphasizes intact forest landscapes and large ecosystems with viable populations of naturally occurring species, preserving the natural patterns of distribution and abundance at global, regional, or national levels.


3. HCV 3 - Threatened Ecosystems:

Identifying and safeguarding rare, threatened, or endangered ecosystems, habitats, or refugia are crucial components of HCV 3, contributing to global and regional biodiversity conservation.


4. HCV 4 - Basic Ecosystem Services:

Critical for protection in dire situations, HCV 4 emphasizes ecosystem services, including water catchment protection and control of erosion on vulnerable soils and slopes.


5. HCV 5 - Necessities of Local Communities:

Focusing on the fundamental sites and resources required for local communities and indigenous peoples, HCV 5 ensures the satisfaction of basic needs, such as livelihoods, health, nutrition, and water, identified through engagement with these communities.


6. HCV 6 - Cultural, Archaeological, and Historical Significance:

HCV 6 targets sites, resources, habitats, and landscapes of global or national cultural, archaeological, or historical significance, emphasizing their critical importance for the traditional cultures of local communities or indigenous peoples.


Users of HCV Methodology:

Divided into two broad categories, users of the HCV methodology include those who implement it on the ground and those who drive ground-level implementation through high-level actions and commitments. Examples range from HCV professionals and commodity producers to financial institutions, civil society initiatives, and governments.



Understanding and implementing High Conservation Values is pivotal in the face of an expanding global population and escalating resource demands. By recognizing and safeguarding these values, we can pave the way for sustainable development, ensuring the preservation of our planet's biological, ecological, social, and cultural treasures. The HCV approach becomes not just a tool for conservation but a crucial guide towards a balanced and sustainable future.


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