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Sustainable use of tropical forests
Organisations like The Forest Stewardship Council, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Bank are developing a classification system for forests which divides them into categories.
The most important category is High Conservation Value (HCV) forest, which has high biodiversity, diverse topography and landscape, is a home for rare species, provides ecosystem services, and has socio-cultural significance for a community.
Low and medium conservation value forest areas have also been identified. These areas may have already been significantly deforested by illegal operations, illegally converted to palm oil or other plantations, and otherwise degraded. They are often failed or abandoned agricultural schemes which have become overgrown with weed species. Ownership (and responsibility) is often unclear, so no-one is planning to invest in rehabilitating or developing the land. The WWF describes the land thus: "presently not [used] or inefficiently used areas with low conservation value".
If non-HCV lands are identified, and government, communities and plantations could co-operate, then the areas could be rezoned for plantation and agricultural use. This would protect HCV forest by providing an alternative location for plantations like palm oil and coffee.