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HCV 5: Forest areas fundamental to meeting basic needs of local communities.

Forests could be considered as high conservation social value if local citizens use the wood and other products from them to meet their basic needs. Such values are a food, drinking water, building materials, materials for crafts, fuel etc., and also essential and indispensable revenue that local communities receive, using forest resources. However, management of HCVF 5 does not imply excessive and unsustainable extraction of resources, even when communities are currently economically dependent on the forest. Not allowed even excessive application of traditional practices (hunting, fishing, beekeeping) when these could cause depletion of other resources present in the forest, or degradation of forest ecosystems as a whole.

These would not be considered HCVF 5:

  1. Forests providing resources that are useful but not fundamental to local communities (for example they take a small part (less than 20%) in meeting basic needs of local communities);
  2. Forests providing resources that have full substitute in the community or they could be obtained elsewhere (for example the alternative to wood is natural gas, to a mountain river - is artesian well);
  3. Forests, where excessive application of resources threatens the conservation of other forest values (for example, gathering of medical plants, which are rare for this area could become a threat to these species and cause their extinction. The same applies to hunting for rare animals and poaching).
  4. Forests, with resources used by local communities for the recreation of hunting, amateur gathering of mushrooms, the use of mineral springs, sport fishing, etc.

 Forests with potentially having HCV 5:

  1. Forests, providing the main or only source for the local community to obtain drinking water;
  2. Forests, providing the main or only source for the local community to obtain water for their domestic needs;
  3. Forests, that are the main or only place with growth of mushrooms, berries, etc. which local people gather for their own needs or sales to income, that is the main source of meeting the needs of community members;
  4. Forests, providing the main or only source of fuel for community.

Social forests value may grow or decline over time, with changing local community needs: for example, development of local infrastructure and increase the citizens’ welfare may weaken their dependence on forest resources. The forest resources that were previously the only source to meet their basic needs could become irrelevant in conducting of their economy, in this case. And the other way round. In order to determine whether the social value of forests is worth for saving (HCV 5), we have to determine if the need that is satisfying by the local population on forest products is a basic for them.