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Biodiversity & HCV Working Group

What are High Conservation Values (HCV)?

HCVs are biological, ecological, social or cultural values which are considered outstandingly significant or critically important, at the national, regional or global level

All natural habitats possess inherent conservation values, including the presence of rare or endemic species, provision of ecosystem services, sacred sites, or resources harvested by local residents. 

An HCV is a biological, ecological, social or cultural value of outstanding significance or critical importance. There are six categories of HCVs.

Definition of HCV areas

  • HCV1: Concentrations of biological diversity including endemic species, and rare, threatened or endangered species, that are significant at global, regional or national levels.
  • HCV2: Intact forest landscapes and large landscape-level ecosystems and ecosystem mosaics that are significant at global, regional or national levels, and that contain viable populations of the great majority of the naturally occurring species in natural patterns of distribution and abundance.
  • HCV3: Rare, threatened, or endangered ecosystems, habitats or refugia.
  • HCV4: Basic ecosystem services in critical situations, including protection of water catchments and control of erosion of vulnerable soils and slopes. 
  • HCV5: Sites and resources fundamental for satisfying the basic necessities of local communities or indigenous peoples (for livelihoods, health, nutrition, water, etc...), identified through engagement with these communities or indigenous peoples.
  • HCV6: Sites, resources, habitats and landscapes of global or national cultural, archaeological or historical significance, and/or of critical cultural, ecological, economic or religious/sacred importance for the traditional cultures of local communities or indigenous peoples, identified through engagement with these local communities or indigenous peoples.

HCV process

The RSPO is committed to the conservation of primary forests and high conservation values (HCV) within the context of sustainably managed landscape through RSPO Principles & Criteria 5.2 and 7.3.

The RSPO New Planting Procedure (NPP) which was formalized in May 2009, approved by the RSPO Board of Governors in September 2009 for implementation from 1st January 2010, further elaborates on the requirements for criterion 7.3. The first step is to conduct a comprehensive and participatory independent social and environmental impact assessment(s) and the assessment(s) must include identification of all primary forest, HCVA, areas of peat soil, and local peoples’ land.

Identify which High Conservation Values are present

The presence or absence of each HVC is determined, by using existing data and collecting additional information as necessary.


Identify the HCV area and how it must be managed

The HCV area is the area of habitat which must be appropriately managed in order to maintain enhance the identified HCVs.


Establish an appropriate monitoring regime

To ensure that the management practices are effective in their aim of maintaining or enhancing the HCVs.

members of biodiversity and high conservation values working group


Ginny Ng (co-chair)
Conservation Lead, Wilmar Group
Izabela Delabre (co-chair)
Palm Oil Technical Advisor, Zoological Society of London (ZSL)
Anne Rosenbarger
SEA Commodities Manager, WRI
Audrey Lee
Sustainability Manager, Olam
Benjamin Loh
Sustainable Palm Oil Manager, WWF - Malaysia
Cahyo Nugroho
Indonesia Country Director, Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
Dr. Gan Lian Tiong
Sustainability Manager, PT Musim Mas (Musim Mas Group)
Dr. Gotz Martin
Head of Sustainability Implementation, Golden Agri-Resources Ltd
Marcus Colchester
Director, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)
Michael Brady
Programme Manager, Biodiversity Markets, IFC (Funding Agency)
Michelle Desilets
Executive Director, Orangutan Land Trust
Juan Carlos Espinosa
Environmental Leader, Fedepalma
Lanash Thanda
President, Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA)
Norazam Abdul Hameed
Head, Plantation Sustainability and Quality Management (PSQM), Felda Global Ventures
Olivier Tichit
Commercial Director, PT Tolan Tiga (SIPEF Group)
Tang Men Kon
Head, Plantation Sustainability & Quality Management, Sime Darby Plantation, Malaysia
Harjinder Kler



Arief Hamidi
Azmariah Muhamed
Felda Global Ventures
Bukti Bagja
Edrin Moss
Wilmar Group
Laila Wilfred
Lee Swee Yin
Sime Darby Plantation, Malaysia
Richard Kan
Golden Agri-Resources Ltd
Patrick Anderson
Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)



Dato' Henry Barlow
Independent (Malaysia)
Dwi R. Muhtaman
Re.Mark Asia
Paulina Villalpando
HCV Resource Network
Dr. Glen Reynolds
Michal Zrust