APCS's High Conservation Value Identification for APP: World's Largest and Most Complex Assessment

April 2, 2014

High Conservation Value (HCV) is important ecological and social values in a forest or ecosystem that needs appropriate management to maintain and enhance the identified value. Those values demand a higher degree of conservation and extra effort to maintain its sustainability.

HCV is a very important issue to be considered in responsible forest management. It should be identified early in management; therefore activity will not be a threat to HCV which is considered as a threat to the environment and human welfare. Once the HCV is identified in the concession, managers must take appropriate steps to maintain and enhance the values where possible, particularly if their objective is certification under any of the major certification schemes such as FSC, PEFC and/or RSPO. They also need to monitor the impact of their activities to ensure the maintenance of the values and adjust their management when objectives for protection are not being achieved.

Asia Pacific Consulting Solution (APCS) was hired to assess the High Conservation Values by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). APCS conducted a full HCV assessment in Sinar Mas Forestry concessions, including two of their independent suppliers in Jambi Province for a total of 11 companies. Covering an area of more than 1,200,000 Ha in 97 sub-districts in 4 provinces in Indonesia, it's likely the largest, and certainly the most complex, HCV assessment ever conducted in the world. The four provinces are Jambi, Riau, West Kalimantan, and East Kalimantan, which were divided into three operational regions (Jambi, Riau, and Kalimantan) with each region assessed by one field team. Each field team consisted of roughly 25 people minimum with various support teams assisting them to evaluate areas in which special expertise was required. APCS was allocated time from December 2012 to September 2013 for completion of this project. The GUIDELINES for the IDENTIFICATION of High Conservation Values in Indonesia (HCV Toolkit ' Indonesia ' 2010) and Identifying and managing High Conservation Values Forests: a guide for forest managers (Part 3 ' Proforest ' 2003) was used in the identification and all HCV Resource Network protocols were used to guide the assessment process.

Stakeholder consultation is one of the key elements of HCV assessment because the existence, management and monitoring of these values are to a certain level determined and affected by a range of stakeholders. Because of the importance of these consultations, APCS started this process in December 2012 by conducting sub-district and provincial consultation in the 4 provinces consisting of 54 different meetings. Field work began in February 2013 and during the assessment in the field, APCS conducted village and neighborhood consultations that covered 367 villages and 906 different neighborhoods. APCS implemented both the focus group discussion and individual interviews to do the consultation at this level. The input of the preliminary consultation at sub-district level was verified in the village and neighborhood discussions.

Involving experts from ecology (including botanists, ornithologists, herpetofauna experts, hydrologists, etc.) and social, APCS identified the HVC existing in the APP concession areas by collecting data in the field. Because of the importance of this project, APCS was also assisted by two Australian consulting companies, Pinnacle Quality Pty. Ltd (Kevin O'Grady) and SDP Holdings Pty. Ltd (Sam Ponder) in this large-scale project as team leaders.

After finishing the field assessment, APCS conducted post-consultation on their initial findings in the field. The consultation objectives were to share the findings as the result of the field data collection and analysis, confirmation of how the process was done, collection of any additional information relating to HCV that may have been missed during the previous processes, share the identified risks and threats, and receive input on management recommendations to protect and enhance the HCV. This consultation was held during June 2013 for the district and provincial consultation and July 4, 2013 for the national consultation which occurred in 18 different meetings. This step will be followed by mapping the HVC areas and providing recommendations to maintain and enhance the identified values. Draft reports for each concession will be prepared and peer reviewed to ensure that methodology was followed as required by the HCV Resource Network and the findings were adequate within the constraints of the project. It is likely that a final "focused" consultation will occur with key NGOs after peer review is completed and before the reports are finalized.

Posted in HCV, Ecosystem, Forest Management, Sustainability