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HCV 6: Forests areas critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity conservation.

Forests are essential not only for subsistence and survival of local communities. They can also be critical to societies and local communities for conservation of their cultural and religious identity, and present a historical, cultural, religious and customary value.

According to the forest certification requirements by the FSC scheme, the forest or forest areas potentially having HCV 6 are:

  1. Forests containing sites (zones, cells) related to religious values and customs (for example, places of worship or accomplishment of a cult, in particular, the places of Epiphany for Christians, holy springs, Judaic, Muslim, Keratins holy places, heathen pagodas etc.), monasteries’ lands, artificial cults’ caves, in particular caves of the holies, catacombs, chapels, cemeteries, burials, areas, where cultural and religious groups (such as monks, old believers, etc.) are living in voluntary isolation for a long time;
  2. Forests, containing historical objects of the past, objects which are relevant with historical associations and objects, connected with ancient histories or some ethnic groups (archaeological monuments, statues, megaliths, hill forts, places of battles, sites of mass shootings, sites of concentration camps, guerrilla camps, castles, palaces, fortifications or their ruins, folklore specifics - transfers, legends - that contribute to massive tourism and respectively promote the region's exit of a crisis, the areas described by classics of art and literature - forests described in the works of famous writers, guerrilla forests, places of UPA underground military headquarters (“Kryjivkas”), the Dovbush rocks, rocks of love);
  3. Forests with resources traditionally used by the community due to aesthetic or recreational values of these forests (the places of festivals, fairs, celebrations, forest schools, etc.);
  4. Forests with ethnographic objects and locations that are associated with cultural and culturally-domestic specifics of particular community's vital features (Holy Wood, Black Wood, God's Tree), and forests, associated with folk heritage (stories, legends, areas described by masters of art and literature).

Determining whether a particular forest has a critical value to the traditional, religious and cultural identity of local communities, it is very important to figure out the meaning of “critical” in different social contexts of Ukraine. The critical value to the traditional-historical, religious or cultural identity of certain groups population, have the forests, significantly affecting on the traditional way of life and behaviors of a particular community members, and which have special religious, cultural, aesthetic and historic value. Such areas' existence is an integral part of local culture and history.

These values could be:

  1. unique and irreplaceable cultural value of the forest area for the local population (e. g., places with aesthetic and leisure aesthetic activity - forest schools, tourism, arts events and traditional festivals, fairs, meetings, holidays);
  2. religious value of the forest area to the local population (e. g., places of religious pilgrimage, as well as voluntary isolation locations – for example, of monks, old believers - if it is not controversial to the FSCs Criterion 1.5);
  3. customary-historical value to the community's residents (e. g., crosses, statues, megaliths, hill forts, castles).

The indicator, confirming a critical cultural and religious significance of forest for the community is:

a change in the traditional local culture and in behavior of local community's members in case of forest area changes (e. g. weakening, dying and loss of customs associated with places of worship and charging of a religious cult).

The indicator, confirming a critical cultural forest value for the community is:

a reducing the number of visitors and cultural events and activities , leisure recreational activities (e. g., festivals, fairs, meetings, holidays, activities of schools, travelings, arts);

The indicator, confirming a critical traditional-historical forests significance for the community is:

a deterioration of historical objects conditions (objects that are evidence of a military liberation struggle - “kryjivka” UPA, military activities – the Arpad's Line, historic monuments, castles, hill forts, etc.).