SavingSpecies science: CPR for Earth

How does SavingSpecies use science to stop extinctions?

Our science is the basis of all our conservation decisions. Before funding any projects, we have the world’s top conservation scientists review proposals for scientific value, financial integrity and conservation impact. When our Science Board reviews proposals they ensure that projects meet three basic criteria. Our projects have to (1) connect isolated habitats that create wildlife corridors, (2) protect the land and wildlife along the corridors and surrounding areas and (3) restore degraded land to habitat suitable for wildlife. In this way, our projects save the most number of species for the least amount of money.

Connect, Protect, Restore: CPR for Earth

We summarize our strategy with a simple acronym, CPR:

  • CONNECT isolated habitats
  • PROTECT land and wildlife
  • RESTORE the land to natural and native forest for biodiversity

Because of our requirements, our scientists have to search carefully for the best projects. We use satellite technology, scientific surveys and mapping data to find areas that have the world’s highest biodiversity, in regions called biodiversity hotspots. Here are more examples of the mapping technology we use.

Map of color coded number of vertebrate species in the Americas.

Map of color coded number of vertebrate species in the Americas. (Click for larger map.)

Connecting, Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity Hotspots

Within these biodiversity hotspots we then look for degraded land between forested areas. Since wild animals are often reluctant to cross open land, degraded land without forest can act as a barrier to many species. By connecting forested areas with corridors, we expand the total area available for species. Restoring this degraded land increases habitat, and so the total population of a species can increase more easily–decreasing a species’ likelihood of extinction.

The success of this approach means that we need to understand details of species’ ecology and behavior. This is why we partner with organizations who specialize in scientific research of species we are saving. For example, for our golden lion tamarin project project, we worked with the Golden Lion Tamarin Association, a well-established non-profit based in Rio de Janeiro.

Because degraded land is often exhausted and useless for crops or grazing, SavingSpecies in-country partners can buy relatively large parcels cheaply. SavingSpecies does not own the land. We help our in-country partners raise the money for land purchases.

We then employ local workers or volunteers to restore the land, giving local communities a vested interest in our projects. Local involvement ensures that the reforested areas will remain intact for wildlife.

Using this strategy means that SavingSpecies addresses the two most important environmental challenges of our generation: stopping global warming and preventing species extinctions.

If you have any questions about our science, methods or if you have ideas or suggestions for projects, please contact SavingSpecies.

To learn more about how our projects work, visit our project pages: