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Indonesia - 26 April, 2021
Tropenbos Indonesia helped develop an approach to identify areas with high conservation value within a landscape. At the end of 2020, updated guidelines were published, which are expected to become an invaluable tool for companies, NGOs and governments.
Globally, interest in the High Conservation Value (HCV) approach has been rising. The approach focuses on natural habitats that are located outside of protected areas. It advocates for managing areas with important biological, ecological, social or cultural values to maintain or enhance those values. The Forest Stewardship Council first developed the approach in the late 1990s, and over the years it was adopted by numerous certification schemes and initiatives to promote sustainable production.
Initially, the HCV approach was developed at the scale of a management unit, such as a certified logging concession or an oil palm plantation. However, for the HCV approach to become more effective, it also needed to take into account the wider context of the landscape. For example, paying attention to connections with other HCV areas and protected areas could identify opportunities for wildlife corridors.
Tropenbos Indonesia started developing and implementing a landscape-wide HCV approach in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, as well as in the provinces of Jambi and West Sumatra. Based on the experience in Ketapang, Tropenbos Indonesia published a policy brief in 2018. This made it one of the first organizations to synthesize its experiences with applying the HCV approach at a landscape scale.
This pioneering work did not go unnoticed. In 2019, the HCV Resource Network (HCVRN) asked Tropenbos Indonesia to provide input to an international HCV screening guide. The guide will help companies, organizations and governments worldwide to identify the key HCV areas in a landscape or jurisdiction. Screening is used to assess the likelihood that HCVs are present, to determine the threats to those HCVs, and to identify which values require interventions most urgently.
In 2020, the HCVRN and Tropenbos Indonesia continued their collaboration and started working together to test the HCV screening method in the Kapuas Hulu District in West Kalimantan. Based on this work, they made significant improvements to the screening guide, adding practical examples of indicators that determine HCV probability and threats. The HCVRN published the updated guide at the end of the year.
The result is a guide to a robust method, with wide applicability. Companies can use it to inform certification and sustainable sourcing initiatives, NGOs can use it to plan interventions, and governments can use it to support land-use planning and inform regulations. Tropenbos Indonesia is now collaborating with Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, as well as local governments, to identify HCV areas at the jurisdictional level. This could be useful for the creation of wildlife corridors and the designation of Essential Ecosystem Areas—a new conservation category for natural habitats outside of protected areas. It is hoped that this will help stakeholders to conserve important biological, ecological, social and cultural values within productive landscapes.
This article is part of the TBI Annual review 2020,
due for release in May 2021