The more natural a landscape, and the more people in that landscape depend on subsistence practises, the higher the probability of HCVs being present.

An effective way to minimize the risk of damaging or destroying HCVs is to steer the expansion of agriculture into areas already used for agriculture, or to convert only degraded areas where the likelihood of HCV presence is lower. Where expansion takes place on already cultivated or degraded land, potentially present HCVs can be addressed through easy-to-implement mitigation measures. However, in areas where conversion and development are likely to have negative impacts on HCVs, more in-depth assessments are required. The risk-based approach to HCV identification helps to distinguish between situations of high and low probability of HCV presence.

The Network is working closely with different sustainability standard schemes to develop user-friendly risk-assessment tools to identify the level of risk associated with conversion in various settings. A recent project between the HCV Network and the Better Cotton Initiative resulted in the development of a conversion risk assessment procedure for medium and large farms and smallholders to comply with Better Cotton Initiative’s 4.2 Criterion. 

For more information about this project contact Anders Lindhe at