The High Conservation Value Forest Assessment Report

Principle 9 of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), National Boreal Standard requires an assessment to determine the presence of attributes consistent with High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF). The HCVF concept focuses on the environmental, social, and cultural values that make a forest area outstandingly significant, and the management strategies to ‘maintain or enhance’ those values. The key to the assessment is the identification of High Conservation Values.

High Conservation Value Forests contain 1 or more of the following attributes:

• Forest areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant :
• Concentrations of biodiversity values (e.g., endemism, endangered species, refugia)
•Large landscape level forests, contained within, or containing  the management unit, where viable populations of most (if not all) naturally occurring species exist in natural patterns of distribution and abundance.

• Forest areas that are in or contain rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems.

• Forest areas that provide basic services of nature in critical situations
(e.g. watershed protection, erosion control).

• Forest areas fundamental to meeting basic needs of local communities
(e.g. subsistence, health) and/or critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity (areas of cultural, ecological, economic or religious significance identified in cooperation with such local communities).

The following guidance documents were be used to complete the assessment:

• The FSC Boreal Standard (2004)- Appendix 5 : HCVF National Framework
• The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada (2005) HCVF Support Document

The HCVF National Framework document organizes the HCVF definition into a table format with 6 Categories and 19 Key Questions. Each Key Question has Definitive and Guidance Questions used to channel identified values through the Assessment, so that HCVF attributes can be revealed and to provide an opportunity to evaluate thresholds for HCVF designation.

HCVF Public Consultation

Open Houses and workshops

Open houses were held in Bragg Creek on February 3rd, 2011 and in Cochrane on February 9th, 2011 with the intent to introduce the HCVF Assessment Framework and to provide information on work completed to date.

The focus for the evening sessions was the identification of values. Stakeholders and the public at large were asked to comment and bring forward critical values associated with the FMA and B9 Quota areas.

The HCVF Report, Version 1.0 was released in August of 2011 and included this first round of public consultation.  Forest management and HCVF workshops were also held on March 13 & 14, 2013 and on April 4, 2013 in Cochrane Alberta to provide an open forum for interested parties to share their ideas regarding HCVF’s. The general public, stakeholders and First Nations have had the opportunity to provide comments and recommendations for the writing of version 2, since August of 2011.
The third version of the HCVF Assessment Report reflecting all of the public input and peer review was posted on our website on October 29, 2014 and is available by opening the below link.  SLS would like to thank participants of the open houses and workshops for your contribution to the process.

HCVF Peer Reviews

The FSC requires that the HCVF reports are peer reviewed by credible outside parties:

HCVF_Cat4_Peer Review mar14


Open House Presentations

HCVF Categories 1 – 3 Slides
HCVF Categories 4 – 6
HCVF Introductory Presentation
HCVF Posters Categories 1 – 3
HCVF Posters Category 4
HCVF Posters Categories 5 & 6
HCVF Presentation Kansas April 4, 2013
FSC Certification Review Apr4_13
Apr 4-2013 Meeting Notes

The HCVF Assessment Report (version 3, October 29, 2014)

HCVF-v3-October 29-2014-final