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High Conservation Values matter in wartime in Ukraine

The protection of Ukraine's most valuable forest ecosystems is one of the critical tasks of WWF-Ukraine, even during the war.

It may seem that when the war is ongoing, it's not the right time to preserve the environment, valuable forests, and biodiversity, but it's quite the opposite. War destroys and drains nature and entails large-scale and long-term environmental threats and disasters. The damage the enemy causes to Ukraine's forests, steppes, and water bodies will last for decades. 

The post-war reconstruction of Ukraine should be based on principles of sustainable development and not duplicate the obsolete methods of detrimental and exhausting use of natural resources. Therefore, it is now that we have to work on the preservation and protection of unique Ukrainian ecosystems. 

For this purpose, it is necessary to ensure a sustainable regime of forest management and protect the most valuable forests by expanding the network of protected areas. WWF-Ukraine experts in 2021 analyzed the high conservation value (HCV) network within the project "Supporting responsible forestry for sustainable development in Central and Eastern Europe". 

All results of the research are compiled in the Report “Analysis of the Identification and Monitoring of High Conservation Values ​in SFEs of Ukraine”.

The Guide addresses the following issues:
  • Differences in the concepts and approaches to HCV identification used before and after the adoption of the National FSC Standard;
  • Analysis of the optimality of identification and monitoring of HCVs and representative areas;
  • Examples of common mistakes in identifying and monitoring various categories of HCVs;
  • Recommendations on the optimal HCV identification according to the principles and criteria of the National FSC Standard.

Data from 26 certified forest enterprises from 12 regions of Ukraine were used for the analysis. Although the analytical report did not indicate the names of the forest enterprises, the issues needing improvement and revision are common so these tips will be helpful for all certified enterprises. 

The main remark in most cases is the formal approach to identifying and monitoring High Conservation Values. In particular, most enterprises classify the areas that are already protected in accordance with the current Ukrainian legislation (Nature Reserve Fund sites or Especially Protected Forest Areas) as HCVA. However, such spots may not meet the requirements of a particular HCV category and need further investigation and revision. Meanwhile, value areas that do not have conservation status still need to be addressed. The research provides recommendations for improving the identification and monitoring of HCVs and representative areas of indigenous ecosystems.


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