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Consultant to conduct a study on available information regarding High Conservation Value Forests in Europe

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Terrestrial / Aquatic Ecology & Conservation
Location Sweden - Europe
Salary (Minimum)
Salary (Maximum)
Type Temporary / Contract / Seasonal
Status Part Time / Per Day
Level Mid Level
Deadline 05/05/2020
Company Name WWF Sweden
Contact Name Mauro Ciriminna
Telephone 00393200884900
Email mauro.ciriminna@wwf.se
WWF Sweden logo
Also Listing:


  1. 1.     Goal of the Service

WWF Sweden aims to hire a consultant to conduct a research that will

-        Identify key sources of information for High Conservation Value (HCV) areas in Central and Eastern Europe

-        Collect the available information in digital and GIS format (e.g. vector or raster) wherever possible

-        Review the quality of available information, describe and assess gaps of information by country, and provide recommendations on how to fulfil these gaps


  1. 2.     Background information

High Conservation Values are a key conservation concept for WWF, these values represent the most important areas in a forest or other land use, where specific values are significant and require protection or adequate management to avoid negative impacts.

There are six HCV:

1)     Species diversity

2)     Landscape-level ecosystems and mosaics

3)     Ecosystem and habitats

4)     Ecosystem Services

5)     Community needs

6)     Cultural values

High conservation values are particularly important in the European context, in fact, several countries in Europe show a risk of degradation and damage to HCV forests, even in those countries with a strong legal framework.

The countries focus on this study are:

  • Belorussia
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine

Note: the final list will be finalized with WWF and its partners, and selected consultants, the focus ay be restricted depending on the situation.

These countries were chosen for multiple reasons: they all have specified risk regarding HCV (category 3) in FSC National Risk Assessments, except Hungary; they are important countries from a wood perspective; many of these countries have contiguous boundaries; they all have some inconsistency and gaps in HCV mapping. Many risks identified to HCV could be mitigated with appropriate spatial data, but this is very dispersed and not readily available.

  1. 3.     Methodology and activities

The study will be mainly based on desk review and will include the following methods:

-        Internet search, interviews, and collecting available data from WWF offices, other organizations, platforms, national and sub-national governments, EU institutions, academic institutions.

In particular, the study will include, but not limited to, the following activities:

-        Collect all publicly available data on conservation and other HCV areas in different countries, including identifying existing online GIS databases, available maps in vector or raster format, information about the protection regime and formal status

-        Collect data on existing national guidance and toolkits, academic reports, organizations and private companies collecting data on HCV. Any method used must be in line with the HCV Network guidelines and manuals on HCV.

-         Contact the organizations and institutions that own or have this data in their database to check the conditions for accessing the data.

-        Check other available geospatial information, which is relevant to HCVs, such as assessments of the state of forests and ecosystems integrity in Europe, based on remote sensing or other scientific models and reports

-        Engage with WWF offices and partners in the countries of operation and WWF Forest Sector Transformation & Valuation experts and GIS staff.

-        Assess the quality of data, identify gaps and provide recommendations (including suggestions regarding next concrete steps) for improving data quality and availability in cooperation with WWF GIS expert.

-        Compile a database containing available information for each HCV category for all the countries.


  1. 4.     Deliverables

-        A draft Workplan and methodology

-        A draft list of indicators for each HCV category for each country (complementing those presented in annex 1)

-        A database with all the available information (focusing primarily on GIS and spatial datasets, but including reports, HCV national guidance/ toolkits). The list of expected data is included in annex 1 and must include Global, Regional/National, and local scales (or define whether this level of information is missing).

-        A draft Final Report (to be reviewed by WWF staff) and an online presentation. The report must include, but not limited to, the following sections:

  • A brief summary of engagement with different actors and stakeholders
  • A brief summary of findings per country, with maps wherever possible
  • A discussion section highlighting the gaps in data availability and quality
  • Recommendations for ways to fill data gaps
  • A list of key sources of information, platforms, organizations, academic institutions identified in each country

-        A Final report (after inputs from WWF staff and its partners)

The consultant will keep WWF Forest Sector Transformation & Valuation experts informed on the status of deliverables and timely inform WWF on any issues/delays/challenges related to the tasks. WWF and its partner staff and the consultant will arrange planning, regular check-in, and evaluation calls, depending on the needs.


WWF and its partner staff will:

  • provide feedback on the different draft deliverables
  • join some interviews/engagements, if possible and if applicable
  • review the final report and provide comments


  1. 5.     Deliverable




A draft Workplan and methodology


A draft list of indicators for each HCV category for each country


A database with all the available information


A draft report


Revision to draft report and final report


WWF staff, its partner will arrange planning and evaluation calls with the consultant(s), depending on the needs


  1. 6.     Qualifications

-        At least 7 years of experience in biodiversity conservation, High Conservation Value, protected species and/or similar topics

-        Intermediate knowledge of the language of at least 1 country objective of the study, fluent in English

-        Proven experience in research on HCV and/or database research

-        Preferably experience in the application and identification of HCV

-        A good network on the topic in Europe

-        GIS skills is an asset

-        Good presentation and communication skills, organized and able to handle multiple deadlines under minimal supervision

  1. 7.     Application instructions

For this research project WWF aims to hire a consultancy firm and/or qualified freelancers that are able to meet the requirements and ensure the deliverables for the countries included in this document.

Companies (including freelancers) should submit proposals to Mauro Ciriminna, mauro.ciriminna@wwf.se, copying Karen Mo, Karen.Mo@wwfus.org.

Proposals should include a one-page cover email stating relevant expertise, résumé (maximum 3 pages), and a brief proposal (2 pages maximum) including timeline and a budget by the 5th of May 2020. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so early applicants are welcomed.

Companies with multiple freelancers covering the geographic scope of the study are welcomed.

  1. 8.     Payment

The payment and disbursement will follow WWF procedures and will be indicated in the contract


Annex I: Dataset (to be used as a non-exhaustive guidance)



Indicators (indicative examples)


HCV (all)

Reports, academic papers, government and NGO database, manuals or study conducted that contributes to the identification of HCVs and/or areas suitable for restoration

-        Reports from relevant organizations

-        Academic papers published in relevant journals

-        Official reports from government

-        NGO databases

-        National Toolkits and/or technical manuals

-        Any other study conducted that contributes to the identification of HCVs and/or areas suitable for restoration

This type of documents may not be geo-spatial, but the consultant will contact the authors to inquiry about data availability

HCV (all)

Maps of priority areas in scope of the TOR

-        Maps of key and priority landscapes provided by WWF offices

-        Maps of biodiversity hotspots from other leading environmental NGOs

WWF staff will facilitate the discussion and access to this data

HCV type 1

Forest areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant concentrations of biodiversity values (e.g. endemism, endangered species, refugia).

-        Areas with a high overall species richness, diversity or uniqueness within a defined area when compared with other sites within the same biogeographic area or any other indicators related to high biodiversity value

-        Areas with multiple populations of Rare Threatened and endangered species and/or endemic species

-         Areas with abundance of individual RTE and/or endemic species

-        Areas with small populations of RTE and/or endemic species where their survival is dependent on the area in question (e.g. survival of individuals is globally significant).

-        Important genetic variants, subspecies or varieties

-        Areas with abundance of species listed in CITES.

-        Any other areas significant from a species perspective

Geospatial data should be prioritized, including vector points of identification of species.


Forest areas currently or in the past (e.g. last 10 years) defined as Intact Forest Landscapes

-        Areas that are defined as Intact Forest Landscapes and are over app. Over 50,000 hectares that are far from human settlement, roads, or other access.

-        Areas that are or were mapped as IFL and have been subject to fragmentation in the last 10 years.  

Any updated maps of existing IFL, including their fragmentation and trends.

This map will be also used to identify potential areas of restoration to re-establish connectivity.


Landscape-level ecosystems, eco-system mosaics

-        Smaller areas that provide key landscape functions such as connectivity and buffering (e.g. protected area buffer zone or a corridor linking protected areas or high-quality habitat together), when they have a role in maintaining larger areas in the wider landscape.

-        Large areas that are more natural and intact than most other areas and are habitats for key top predators, umbrella species and/or species with large range requirements.

Any other existing maps, including landscape level fragmentation, when available.

This map will be also used to identify potential areas of restoration to re-establish connectivity.


Forest areas that contain rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems

-        Ecosystem areas that are naturally rare because they depend on highly localised soil types, locations, hydrology or other climatic or physical features, such as some types of limestone karst forests, inselbergs, Montagne forest, or riverine forests in arid zones

-        Ecosystem areas that are Anthropogenically rare, because the extent of the ecosystem has been greatly reduced

by human activities compared to their historic extent, such as natural seasonally flooded grasslands on rich soils, or fragments of primary forests in regions where almost all primary forests have been eliminated.

-        Ecosystems that are threatened or endangered (e.g. rapidly declining) due to current or proposed operations.

-        Ecosystems that are classified as threatened in national and international systems (e.g. IUCN Red List of Ecosystems).

-        Area of special protection, woodland key habitats, natura 2000, EBAs (Birdlife), Global200 Ecoregions (WWF), Hotspots (CI), Last of the Wild (WCS, CIESIN), Important Bird Areas (Birdlife) and Key Biodiversity areas (IUCN, BI, PI,CI) and similar ecosystems.

Geospatial maps will be prioritized, particularly vector files.

Research and reports may be used to trigger further investigation, when maps are missing.

Type IV

Forest areas that provide basic services of nature in critical situations

-        Areas critical for manging flow events, maintaining downstream flow regimes such as riparian buffer zones and intact floodplains.

-        Areas critical for water quality and fisheries

-        Areas critical for fire prevention and protection

-        Areas critical to prevent soil erosion

-        Areas critical to protect aquifers

-        Areas critical for protection against wind, regulation of humidity, rainfall or other climatic elements

-        Areas critical for pollination services

-        Areas critical for protection against natural disaster, such as forests, wetlands and other ecosystems

-        Global Soil Erosion Index (for the year 2012 (Mg-Ha-1/Yr-1)

Geospatial maps to be prioritized, such as slope, aspects, Digital terrestrial model, digital elevation models, digital surface models, areas prone to landslides, maps of water bodies and watercourses, water basins, maps of areas prone to fires, wetlands among others.

Type V

Forest areas that are fundamental or satisfying the basic necessities of local

communities or indigenous peoples

Areas that are fundamental for satisfying basic needs, such as:

-        Hunting and trapping grounds (for game, skin and furs)

-        NTFPs such as nuts, berries, mushrooms medicinal plants, rattan

-        Fuel for household cooking, lighting and heating

-        Fish (as essential sources of proteins) and other freshwater species relied on by local communities

-        Building materials (poles, thatching, timber)

-        Fodder for livestock and seasonal grazing

-        Water sources necessary for drinking water and sanitation

-        Items which are bartered in exchange for other essential goods, or sold for cash which is then used to buy essentials including medicine or clothes, or to pay for school fees

When available, maps of forest dependent people should be included, in addition to any HCV5 areas identified in the country.

Maps of NTFP production as well as subsistence hunting may be included.

Type VI

Sites, resources, habitats and landscapes of global or national cultural,

archaeological or historical significance, and/or of critical cultural, ecological,

economic or religious/sacred importance for the traditional cultures of local

communities or indigenous peoples

-        Sites recognised as having high cultural value within national policy and legislation.

-        Indigenous peoples’ territories, and livelihood areas

-        Sites with official designation by national government and/or an international agency like UNESCO.

-        Sites with recognised and important historical or cultural values, even if they remain unprotected by legislation.

-        Religious or sacred sites, burial grounds or sites at which traditional ceremonies take place that have importance to local or indigenous people.

-        Plant or animal resources with totemic values or used in traditional ceremonies.

Maps of indigenous people livelihoods will be included, as well as UNESCO heritage.

When available, local maps of special sites will be collected.


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