The recent uptake of landscape and jurisdictional initiatives has increased the interest of companies, governments and multilateral institutions in applying the High Conservation Value (HCV) approach at larger scales. This would help guide land use planning, sustainable sourcing initiatives, legislative and regulatory measures, etc.

The HCV Network published the first HCV Screening Guidance for HCVs across large landscapes in early 2019. Now, an updated Screening Guidance includes experiences gained through screenings led by the HCV Network and input from practitioners who have done similar work in other locations. HCV Screening can highlight important HCV values and areas, identify information gaps and spark stakeholder discussion about long-term sustainability in their landscape.

Several companies, NGOs, and development organisations are mapping HCVs across landscapes and jurisdictions (across countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana, Uganda, and Cameroon). Screening has been used to:

  • Map risks (of forest, habitat loss) to HCVs in soy production in Brazil, providing inputs for engaging with growers and investors;
  • Map HCVs in relation to oil palm mills in Indonesia to characterise risks to HCVs from oil palm production;
  • Map potential HCVs important for protection against  flood risks for communities;
  • Map HCVs and HCS forest in landscapes where companies have made no- deforestation, no-peat, no-exploitation (NDPE) commitments;
  • In cocoa production landscapes in West Africa - screening has contributed to multi-stakeholder programs for supporting sustainable commodity production while contributing to forest protection and livelihoods;
  • Map where rubber production might threaten HCVs; results can highlight where rubber smallholder farmers need incentives and support for conservation-friendly farming;
  • Prepare for joining jurisdictional certification programmes;
  • Help governments regulate landscape conversion and protect HCVs as part of spatial planning.

Screening in Kapuas Hulu, Indonesia
A team of experts from Tropenbos Indonesia, Daemeter Consulting, and the HCV Network conducted a HCV and High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest screening exercise in Kapuas Hulu. Results showed that forests containing environmental HCVs and HCS forest cover most of the district, overlapping often and being exposed to similar threats. Environmental HCVs in Kapuas Hulu include habitats for threatened species like orangutan, peatlands, several types of forests, and critical ecosystem services including natural fire breaks and flooding controls.

They are most at risk in areas allocated to agricultural land use and production forests. The most at-risk HCVs are peatlands, ecological corridors and forests along rivers that provide refuges for biodiversity.

With most of the communities in Kapuas Hulu heavily dependent on forest, the entire district is likely to have social HCV values, with impacts of oil palm development as the most frequently cited high-impact threat. Validating the map of indicative social HCVs will require a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process.  The screening results will provide important information for district spatial planning, for meeting the district’s sustainability objectives,and for sustainable sourcing and initiatives for rubber and palm farmers.

Screening in Rio Doce, Brazil
The Rio Doce basin is home to over 3 million people, who depend on the river for water, food, livelihoods, leisure and more. In 2015, disaster struck near the town of Mariana in Brazil when a mining tailings dam collapsed, sending water, mud, and debris 650 km down the Rio Doce, ultimately reaching the Atlantic Ocean. In this case, an HCV Screening, co-led by the HCV Network, Nativa Meio Ambiente and Proforest, was used to make recommendations for conservation and restoration in a post-disaster context.

The screening helped to assess the probability of having HCVs in the region, and understanding how the disaster affected them and other human activities.

The screening team:

  • Developed a set of indicators for HCVs and produced indicative HCV maps;
  • Identified information gaps for HCV identification;
  • Performed a threats analysis and formulated management and monitoring recommendations for improving and/or maintaining potential HCVs.

Results presented a pragmatic estimate of where social and biodiversity values are concentrated throughout the watershed and where environmental damage occurred across the whole river basin, which could be used to prioritise restoration actions. The screening identified twelve HCV areas, habitats and ecosystems important for the human populations residing there, in particular a large mangrove ecosystem that supports numerous traditional communities, including indigenous peoples and artisanal fishing communities.

The HCVN Secretariat intends to continually engage with practitioners who conduct screenings to better understand the different ways it is being and can be used – and to widely share the learnings. The updated guidance includes sections on how screening can contribute to site-level assessments and activities and how to scale up both HCV and the High Carbon Stock (HCS) approaches together in landscapes.

The updated screening guidance will be officially launched at the HCV Summit on 2-3 June. For more information, please contact Ellen Watson.