High Conservation Value Areas

HCVAs include High Conservation Forests (HCVF) and/or High Carbon Value Forests, which are defined as possessing the following attributes:

  • Forest areas containing globally, regionally, or nationally significant concentrations of biodiversity values (e.g., endemism, endangered species, and refugia)
  • Forest areas containing globally, regionally, or nationally significant 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).
  • Forest areas critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity (areas of cultural, ecological, economic, or religious significance identified in cooperation with such local communities).
  • Forests or landscapes of high carbon value or containing large carbon stocks or pools (e.g., old growth forests, which due to their age and diversity, must be protected or responsibly managed to reduce carbon emissions associated with forest harvesting).

Per the World Wildlife Fund and the World Resources Institute, HCVAs are found in the Canadian and Russian Boreal Forest, the Cumberland Plateau in the Southeastern United States, designated roadless areas within U.S. National Forests, as well as the rainforests of North America, Indonesia, Latin America and Africa.