SAVES Conservation

Join Us as a Partner
to Create New Protected Areas

We partner with local conservation organizations to create new protected areas and expand existing ones for Critically Endangered and Endangered species. Applications to create new protected areas are reviewed three times per year.

Application deadlines for 2018 are March 1, July 1 and November 1.
Project selection criteria

Partnership applications should meet the following criteria:

  • Clear focus on creating a new protected area or the expansion of existing protected areas (i.e., through land purchase, designation as a national park or other officially recognized protected area, conversion of logging concessions to reserves, community protection)
  • Proposed sites must be currently unprotected. Use IUCN’s World Database of Protected Areas ( to determine if the area is already recognized as protected (category 1-6) before submitting an application
  • Recent, verifiable evidence that species assessed as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species occur within the proposed protected area
  • Endorsement from project stakeholders, including local environmental agencies, government officials and especially communities
  • The applicant must be an NGO based in the country of the proposed protected area
  • Priority is given to proposed sites located in the tropics
  • The applicant organization should have an independent and autonomous oversight and management committee (e.g., a non-executive board) if land purchase or leasing is the proposed conservation strategy

Partnership applications should not include:

  • Overhead costs (e.g., 15% of grant amount for indirect costs)
  • Ecological monitoring or research
  • Habitat restoration (e.g., tree planting)
  • Vehicle purchases other than motorcycles
  • International travel
  • Environmental education

See here for additional details on our project selection criteria.
Project Review Process

Project development and review at Rainforest Trust is a dynamic process where partners work extensively with Rainforest Trust conservation staff to develop project proposals. Before submitting a partnership application please complete one of the eligibility questionnaires below.

If your project is deemed to be a good fit for Rainforest Trust one of our staff members will contact you and work with you to develop the partnership application. We ask that you submit a draft of your application by the relevant deadline listed at the top of this page. If a satisfactory application is developed, we will proceed with our project vetting process. With your permission we will send your proposal to at least two independent conservation experts to get their comments on the project’s viability. Finally if the project receives favorable external reviews we will present the proposal to our Board of Directors for final review and consideration. Board meetings are held approximately 2.5 months after the initial submission deadline. If you have any questions feel free to send them to We look forward to collaborating with you to save the world’s most endangered species!
Urgent project pipeline

As noted above, the normal project review process takes approximately 2.5 months to complete. If your land protection project is truly urgent, we may able to process it by calling an emergency meeting of our Board of Directors. We only do this in exceptional circumstances such as if there are imminent threats to irreplaceable habitats, if the land is up for auction, or if an impending election is likely to make habitat protection impossible in the future. Please send an email to if you think your project qualifies for our urgent review pipeline.

Rapid Protected-Area
Feasibility Awards

Applications for Rapid Protected-Area Feasibility Awards are reviewed on a rolling basis. Rainforest Trust provides Rapid Protected-Area Feasibility Awards to encourage conservationists and researchers to evaluate important potential sites for creating new Protected Areas. Awards average $5,000.

Successful applications should exhibit clear intent to establish a new Protected Area and one or more of the following:

  • Plan to evaluate the presence and abundance of Endangered or Critically Endangered species within unprotected sites
  • Efforts to evaluate land ownership of unprotected sites where Endangered or Critically Endangered species are found
  • Efforts to negotiate land prices and gauge willingness to sell privately owned land
  • Assessments of community and government interest in Protected Area creation


Complete the Eligibility Questionnaire

If you are interested in applying to become a partner or in applying for a Feasibility Award, please complete one of the following eligibility questionnaires. If you have any questions, please contact us at

If you have any questions about the process of applying to be a partner through the SAVES Challenge, contact a Rainforest Trust conservation officer at the above email. If deemed eligible, you will be prompted to download instructions to submit a concept note for initial project evaluation. Successful applicants will then be invited to submit a full application.

Africa Questionnaire
Take Questionnaire
Asia-Pacific Questionnaire
Take Questionnaire
Latin America Questionnaire
Take Questionnaire

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