Mobile App and Dashboard for Simplified HCV Approach tested in the field

Proforest, the HCV Resource Network, Daemeter and World Resources Institute have developed a Simplified HCV Approach for Independent Smallholders, on behalf of RSPO, to support their compliance with RSPO Criterion 5.2 on Existing Plantings and 7.3 on New Plantings.

This is a risk-based approach, with different procedures required depending on the risk of damage to HCVs. Smallholder Group Managers (GMs) complete basic HCV surveys themselves using the mobile app, avoiding the expense and technical requirement for contracting independent assessors. Based on the results of the surveys, the risk of damaging HCVs is determined automatically by the app (based on the presence of any potential HCV habitat types, potential overlapping land use claims) and additional independent review or 3rd party HCV assessment are triggered in higher risk situations. To help GMs to provide the required outputs to comply with certification standard, a mobile application and web dashboard has been developed. The app and dashboard supplement the written manuals intended to guide GMs through the series of phases which comprise the approach.

Proforest recently conducted a short field test in Johor, Malaysia, to observe and assess the effectiveness of this simplified approach, providing positive feedback on the user-friendliness of the manuals, mobile app and dashboard.

This field test involved;

  • Field visits to farmers by the GM/lead farmer to determine where criteria for existing plantations and new plantings would apply and to register farmer’s & collect basic information using the app.
  • Field survey, with data collection on a plot basis using the app
  • Data uploaded to dashboard
  • Export of information and preparation of reports from the dashboard

The field test was an opportunity to check and refine the guidance manuals and survey tools, identify and fix some bugs with the software and some flag up practical issues when using GPS tracking via the app for surveying in the field.

RSPO will analyse feedback from this field test. Further tests may be conducted in Ghana, Honduras, Indonesia or Thailand, before finalising the approach and putting it forward for formal adoption by RSPO.