Why monitor threats to HCV areas?

Monitoring is integral to ensuring that management of HCVs is cost effective and efficient.

Human utilisation and operational errors in HCV areas are the predominant causes of degradation and loss of High Conservation Values. The fragmented HCV habitats within palm oil landscapes are extremely vulnerable to human utilisation and operational errors, and the reduction in available natural resources due to crop planting compounds threats associated with resource use by local communities.

Monitoring and management of the threats to HCV areas are the most useful ways to protect HCVs. The HCV Impact Monitoring Protocol provides the tool through which management decisions can be made more efficient, timely, and adaptable.

The solution

A low-cost, user friendly, standardised monitoring system that allows managers to better understand the situation on the ground through:

icon1Regular patrol monitoring for
evaluation of the effectiveness
of HCV management practices.



icon2Identification of the types of illegal
and damaging activities from both
internal and external actors, the locations
of problem ‘hotspots’, the scale of the
issues, and changes over time.


icon3A central storage and reporting system to
compile data and produce standardised,
custom-built, reports.



icon 4Easily generated reports that can be
used for adaptive management to
improve HCV protection.



icon5Enforcement of HCV protection
and potential improvement of
management actions.




Data is easily retrievable


GIS overlays help visualise threat hotspots


Visualise HCV threat distribution


Benefits of the ZSL HCV Monitoring System

  • Regular patrol monitoring has very low operational and fixed costs, and can utilise current company structures and reporting frameworks.
  • Resources for enforcement and management activities can be better allocated, leading to more efficient HCV protection.
  • Results and generated reports can be used to clearly demonstrate certification standard compliance on HCVs.
  • Managers have up-to-date on-the-ground information regarding their HCV areas wherever they are located.
  • Managers have better oversight on staff performance, completion of activities, and problem resolution.
  • Managers are better informed about breaches of company Standard Operating Procedures and can take immediate and preventative action.
  • Regular patrols can additionally provide information on the biodiversity present in palm oil plantations.
  • System and software has been endorsed by the RSPO Biodiversity and High Conservation Value Working Group.


how does it work


The training

  • The Zoological Society of London has developed a comprehensive training programme for company uptake.
  • Training is tailor-made for company-specific situations and includes overarching modules on HCV concepts as well as specific training on data collection, SMART software use, and data analysis and reporting.
  • Training materials are provided for further learning including step-by-step software-use guidance, all training modules and presentations, field identification guides and crib sheets.
  • Training programme includes classroom teaching, field training, and field support.
  • ZSL can further train field teams on habitat structure monitoring, camera trap use, and the use of ZSL’s camera trapping software.

About ZSL

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), a charity founded in 1826, is a world-renowned centre of excellence for conservation science and applied conservation. ZSL’s mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. This is realised by carrying out field conservation and research in over 50 countries across the globe and through education and awareness at our two zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, inspiring people to take conservation action.


We strive to achieve our mission by:

  • Conducting world-leading conservation science Implementing effective field conservation projects globally
  • Providing decision-makers with the best possible conservation advice
  • Building conservation capacity and inspiring people to connect with the natural world


SMART is a tool for measuring, evaluating and reporting of the effectiveness of management activities in areas of high conservation value. SMART collects geographical and other data to give managers a visual and statistical overview of the situation on the ground. The software uses existing plantation maps to provide easy to understand reports and analyses of changes over time.



To find out more about how ZSL’s HCV Impact Monitoring System can be applied to your Palm Oil landscape, contact:

Julien Godfrey
Email: Julien.Godfrey@zsl.org


HCV Impact Monitoring Protocol


Last updated: 02/02/2018