The potential of the High Conservation Value concept as basis for landscape conservation planning

The potential of the High Conservation Value concept as basis for landscape conservation planning

Indonesia - 08 July, 2016

A research at the Pawan River watershed to assess the potential of the HCV concept to provide the basis of landscape conservation planning was developed in mid - 2015. The Pawan watershed was chosen because it is representative of those areas in Indonesia that have experienced extensive changes in land cover, and because HCV activities have taken place there. The watershed provides an appropriate site to study the gap between potential and actual HCVs. This gap — and the high proportion of potential HCVs that are managed by the private sector — indicates a high risk of losing HCVs.

In the past 20 years most of the area has undergone vast changes, with a major shift from the lowland natural dipterocarp forest that originally dominated the area to fast-growing plantations. In addition, detrimental activities such as illegal, small-scale mining, illegal logging and encroachment are increasing.

Despite these changes, which are carried out in the name of economic gain and people’s prosperity, but are often destructive to the environment and nature conservation, some HCV areas remain. Many concession holders in the Pawan watershed have identified and manage HCV areas in their management units. Some of these concession holders recognize the importance of an HCV approach in supporting a sustainability of their production areas; others see the approach as merely a “green” campaign to achieve better acceptance of their products by the market.

The HCV areas within management units of the production areas should be connected to each other to form conservation corridors and avoid being isolated. The research has concluded that unfortunately, in many cases, HCV areas are separated from each other, forming small islands in a sea of intensive production. This reduces their ability to contribute to landscape-level conservation. Connecting these HCV areas within concession boundary areas can be achieved by requiring concessionaires to adopt landscape conservation planning as the basis for delineating natural corridors at the landscape level before they receive a permit for concession areas. Ineffective land-use policy is partly the result of the failure to do this.

The research addressed the attitude of the private sector towards HCV initiatives, and studied HCV identification, methodology, intensity of implementation and management, as well as connectivity between HCV areas. The emphasis of the research was on the biophysical aspects of HCVs, rather than their social and cultural characteristics. Upcoming research will verify the quality of identification and management of HCVs and their contribution to natural resource management at the level of management units and landscapes. The key findings will serve as the basis of improvements to the HCV toolkit and to strategies to raise awareness of HCV initiatives and incorporate them in resource management.