Virgilio Viana is an expert in forestry and sustainable development. He received a PhD in evolutionary biology from Harvard University and did post-doctoral work on sustainable development at the University of Florida. He was formerly professor of forest sciences at the Higher School of Agriculture Luiz de Queiroz, at São Paulo University. Dr. Viana coordinated the Brazilian consultative process that led to the establishment of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in 1993.

He was the founder and President of IMAFLORA, the first Latin-American-based forest certifier, and in 2003 he became the first Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development for the state of Amazonas, Brazil, which had the mission of coordinating the state’s sustainable development program, known as the Green Free Trade Zone. In 2008, Dr. Viana transitioned to a new role as Director General of the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), an organization charged with implementing the Bolsa Floresta Program, as well as providing the institutional framework to market environmental services of Amazonas’ forests.