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Tuesday, 03 October 2017
INTACT FOREST LANDSCAPES: towards a Regional Guideline on High Conservation Values (HCV) and an acceptable solution for all the parties

HCV-RWG MembersHCV-RWG Members

Thanks to PPECF-COMIFAC and WWF-US support, the FSC Congo Basin Office started in 2015 to develop a Regional Guideline to identify, manage, and monitor High Conservation Values (HCV) from the Congo Basin forests.Thanks to PPECF-COMIFAC and WWF-US support, the FSC Congo Basin Office started in 2015 to develop a Regional Guideline to identify, manage, and monitor High Conservation Values (HCV) from the Congo Basin forests.

After two rounds of international consultation, where major stakeholders such as Greenpeace, companies, WWF, WCS, and NGOs supporting civil society platforms in the Congo Basin have shared their views, the HCV-Regional Working Group has been mandated to complete this work. Chamber-balanced, this expert group is composed of representatives from Congo Basin countries and includes the Commission of Central African Forests, WCS, WWF, WRI, REPALEAC, companies, representative from the Congolese government and academic experts.

The FSC Congo Basin Office first provided maps to each certificate holder, with existing available data and also produced an updated document on the overlapping situation between Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) and FSC certified concessions in Congo Basin. The maps have been realized by Hélène Blanchard, thanks to the support of WWF-US.

To assist this group, a scientific advisory group that included Hedley Grantham (WCS), Aurelie Shapiro (WWF-Germany), Valery Gond (CIRAD), Djoan Bonfils (WRI) and Olivia Rickenbach (FSC Congo Basin Office worked first on the development of a HCV-2 Regional map, taking into account several parameters such as Forest Ecosystems, Forest fragmentation, deforestation and degradation, Forest Condition and Human Pressure Index. WWF-US supported the work.

This map and shapefiles related will be made available publicly, in order for current certificate holders and potential applicant companies to FSC certification in Congo Basin countries to use as a decision-making tool regarding management decisions. An explanatory guide will be joined to the data and our FSC HCV Congo Basin Officer will provide guidance and offer personalized support.

Reaching a consensus on IFLs in Congo Basin

In August 2017 a fourth meeting of the HCV-RWG was held in Brazzaville to find a chamber-balanced consensus on how to deal with Intact Forest Landscapes within a FSC-FM certified Forest Management Unit. The discussions have been facilitated by Claude Garcia and his team from ETH Zurich (ETH ForDev), using a role game model to bring all the participants to the same level of understanding regarding the impact of each management decision taken.

The game ran from the 1960s to 2010. The initial landscape was completely forested with High-density forests on both sides of a single road connecting two nearby city centres. Human settlements – farmers and hunter-gatherers– were present along the roadside.

After 50 years, the first open-forest mosaic landscapes appeared, indicating increasing pressure on the forest. The status of biodiversity was threatened over large parts of the landscapes. The landscape was at this moment at a tipping point where degradation started to become irreversible.

The HCV-RWG agreed unanimously on all points except one. The three chambers agreed on consulting with their respective partners on the formulation of this particular blocking point. In compliance with the procedures manual, a conciliation committee will be established after the 8th FSC General Assembly to take a final decision on the main principles of IFLs management.
The management criteria for IFLs in the Congo Basin as proposed by the HCV-RWG will serve as a basis for the formulation of national IFL indicators by the national Standard Development Groups (Groupes nationaux d’Elaboration des Normes). This process will start hopefully in November 2017.

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