Tapirs are uniquely suited to be the focal species for conservation initiatives. Tapirs are widely recognized as umbrella species (species with large area requirements, which if given sufficient protected habitat, will bring many other species under protection) ,
Tapirs are landscape species (species that occupy large home ranges, which require a diversity of ecosystems and have a significant impact on the structure, productivity and resilience of ecosystems
Tapirs are recognized as gardeners of the forest. Through seed dispersal and selective browsing of hundreds of plants that comprise their diet, tapirs play a critical role in shaping the structure and maintaining the composition and functions of the ecosystems in which they occur.
Tapir population declines and local extinctions can have disproportionate negative impacts on biodiversity.