In order to address growing concern by High Conservation Value (HCV) assessors and oil palm companies on difficulties to interpret and implement the HCV concept in oil palm plantations, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has commission a study by Daemeter Consulting to identify barriers to effective implementation and solutions to overcome them . The investigation will focus on HCV assessment in the context of RSPO Criterion 7.3, which provides that “New plantings since November 2005, have not replaced primary forest or any area required to maintain or enhance one or more High Conservation Values”.
The HCV concept was originally developed for application in forests managed for responsible timber production within a certification framework. Today, HCV is used more widely outside timber certification, as a tool for land-use planning, conservation priority setting and the development of plantations for agriculture commodities. The RSPO adopted HCV as a planning tool to minimize the negative ecological and social impacts of industrial mom-culture plantation development. It is a key requirement to achieve RSPO certification for sustainable palm oil certification.
The HCV Toolkit for Indonesia was revised in 2008 involving inputs from a wide variety of stakeholders with diverse backgrounds and priorities. The Toolkit defines criteria for HCVs in Indonesia and serves as a reference for their identification in diverse sectors such as HPH, HTI and oil palm plantations. The Toolkit does not, however, provide detailed guidance on how HCVs should be managed and monitored. When applied in the context of oil palm, where conversion of natural forest might be involved, assessors and companies have found it difficult to implement HCV without more detailed guidance. Some of the main challenges encountered include:
- Inconsistent application of HCV definitions among assessors
- Ambiguity on the legal status and validity of HCV set-aside areas
- Lack of recognition of HCV criteria within Indonesia’s regulations
- The limited 3-year time frame of a typical palm oil plantation permit can be inadequate to comply with HCV requirements
- Challenges in identfiying and maintaining social and cultural HCVs (HCV 5 and 6), where community aspirations are dynamic and local economies are undergoing rapid change
- Conflict between community aspirations and maintenance of HCVs 1-4
- Recommended actions for managing non-viable populations of HCV 1 species
- Lack of integration between EIA (Amdal) and HCV assessments
- Status and utility of past and on-going efforts to map “potential” HCVs at landscape-, province- or island-wide scales.
- Relationship between HCV and FPIC – can procedures be combined?
Using a variety of methods including direct interviews, questionnaires, document review and workshops, Daemeter is collecting inputs for this study and welcomes further contributions from any concerned parties. You can request an interview, download questionairre and return to email@example.com or simply send us a feedback. A draft report highlighting main findings will be completed during June 2011, and finalized during July 2011.