Sure, you have a bunch of questions! Questions are good. Here we’ve divided the FAQs into two. One set of questions is about SavingSpecies, who we are, what we do, and so on. The other set is about biodiversity, what it is and why it’s important. Click on the question to see the answer.
Questions about SavingSpecies
How can I save species?
|SavingSpecies makes it easy for you to help save species. We use science and technology to choose places which are most threatened and which have the most species. While we choose “mascot” species to highlight an area, all programs are in places where biodiversity is very high. We ensure donation dollar gets the most bang for the buck. To help us save species, visit our How to donate page.
What is SavingSpecies?
|SavingSpecies is an organization committed to preserving Earth’s biodiversity. We use science to decide the best places to spend conservation money.
Who is SavingSpecies?
|Hundreds of individuals have donated to help us save species. Money for conservation programs buys land in areas that are most threatened that have the most species.|
Our advisory committee includes several of the world’s top conservation biology researchers.
All SavingSpecies program go through a strict selection process.
How is SavingSpecies different?
||SavingSpecies is distinguished from other conservation organizations by five key differences:
- Prioritizes areas of the world’s highest biodiversity that are at most risk.
- Uses the best available science to discover such areas and rank them for priority.
- Work with local NGOs and engage local communities to ensure buy-in and support and to ensure benefits accrue to local people who are stewards of these vulnerable areas.
- Channel all funds to conservation projects, focusing on land purchase, reclamation and restoration, with no funds siphoned off for overhead (such as offices, lobbying, advertising, etc.).
- Tie donations to land purchase and reclamation projects to carbon offsets, so that donors can contribute to carbon offset programs while at the same time saving biodiversity.
You can learn more about what makes SavingSpecies different on our About page.
Where are the lands you wish to purchase?
|Typically in tropical countries. Such countries have the greatest number of species at risk of extinction. Rainforests hold the greatest number of species, but other habitats, including tropical dry forests are in great danger.
Can a donor purchase the land?
|This is a tough question. The answer depends on the country. For some countries, the answer is “yes”. Generally, we’re looking for ways of passing the management to local organizations and national parks. Therefore, we do not encourage direct purchase of land. However, under some circumstances SavingSpecies will be willing to negotiate direct purchase.
Who manages the land?
|We look for projects where local authorities — such as the equivalent of the US National Park Service — agree to manage the land. We continue to monitor the land through satellite observations as well as expecting the organizations who handle the purchases to continue their work.
Are donations to SavingSpecies tax-deductible?
|SavingSpecies has received charitable 501(c)3 status from the IRS. Direct donations may be tax-deductible as allowed by law. When you donate, we will provide a receipt with evidence of our 501(c)3 status. Please consult your tax expert for advice.
Who rates SavingSpecies.org?
|We stand by the reputations of the advisors who form our collective, their research, and what they accomplish. Our decisions are open and transparent because we require detailed justifications for our recommendations. SavingSpecies is featured on charity rating websites, such as Guidestar
Aren’t you simply eliminating the middleman for conservation actions?
|Yes. One hundred percent of donations goes directly to saving species. We do not siphon off any overhead for expensive offices, lobbyists or glossy brochures. Plus we bring a huge collective experience to the decisions. Our board of expert advisors priortizes where to act and why.
How do SavingSpecies carbon offsets work?
|When you help SavingSpecies buy land, that area is set aside to grow trees. The trees absorb carbon which offsets the carbon you add to the atmosphere by driving, flying, and using electricity. We all ought to pollute less. But if we wait another half century to reduce our carbon dioxide pollution, it’ll be too late. In the meantime, we’ll lose a third or more of all life on Earth. Help us save species while there’s still time.
Questions about biodiversity
What is biodiversity?
|Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. It can include genetic resources and variety among habitats and ecosystems. When SavingSpecies refers to biodiversity, it usually refers to the number of species in a particular place.
Why is biodiversity important?
|We believe biodiversity is critical to the sustainable existence of human life on Earth. We see high biodiversity as important for three primary reasons: economic, cultural and aesthetic.
- Economic — Biodiversity provides countless ecosystem services such as crop pollination, natural pest control, mitigation of pollutants, flood control, water purification and so on. (See Wikipedia: Ecosystem Services) All these are provided free-of-charge to humanity. If we place an economic value on these services, they are worth trillions of dollars and more valuable than the world’s entire cash economy. (See: The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital, Costanza et al. 1997 Nature 387: 253-260) Biodiversity also holds the promise of new food, medicine, material and fuel products.
- Cultural — People around the world have depended on biodiversity to define and support their unique cultures and ways of life. Without high biodiversity, indigenous people would have no significant basis for day-to-day living. Most cultures would be greatly diminished and likely go extinct. They would disappear along with their language, dress, art and countless generations worth of knowledge that enabled them to survive — knowledge that could be invaluable in helping humanity deal with dramatic imminent environmental change.
- Aesthetic — Biodiversity relies on the interconnectedness of species, so if one creature goes extinct, there is a chain reaction effect that may impact many other species. For example, if a predator goes extinct, its prey’s population will dramatically increase, perhaps infesting human crops. But if a predator such as the tiger or lion goes extinct, surely we have lost more than just a part of the food web. We have lost a creature that has inspired humans since prehistory and that continues to fascinate people of all ages and cultures today. How can it be right for people today to deny future generations the chance to encounter such things for themselves. By preserving biodiversity, we are securing a future for nature’s endless beauty and wonder.
How is SavingSpecies helping conserve biodiversity?
|SavingSpecies focuses its conservation efforts in biodiversity hotspots – areas of the world’s highest biodiversity. We combine data from these hotspots with assessments of their vulnerability. Key areas where SavingSpecies is working to restore or conserve biodiversity include Brazil’s Atlantic coast rainforest (Golden Lion Tamarin Project), Madagascar (Bamboo Lemur Project), and the eastern slopes of the Andes (Colombian Orchids Project). Other areas of high biodiversity include those indicated in red on the map below. We encourage organizations from these and other areas to submit proposal to work with SavingSpecies.