Research Colloquium: Zurich Distinguished Visitor Virgilio Viana
The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Virgilio Viana
Director General, Amazonas Sustainability Foundation
Former Secretary of Environment, State of Amazonas, Brazil

Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414
"Sustainable Development in Practice: Lessons Learned From Amazonas"

Hosted by Dean Steve Gaines

Note: This presentation will be video-recorded



Virgilio Viana has spent years working to prevent deforestation in Brazil, particularly in his role as environment secretary for the state of Amazonas, which has more rain forest than any country except for Brazil itself. From 2003-2009, under the direction of conservation-minded governor Eduardo Braga, Viana helped to reduce the rate of deforestation in Amazonas by 70 percent, through a series of initiatives and incentives. One such inititiative, the Bolsa Floresta, allowed for a cash payment of approximately $6,500 per month to communities that agreed not to cut down their trees. He will speak about the lessons learned from these experiences, which he covers in his most recent book, Sustainable Development in Practice: Lessons Learned from Amazonas.


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 Sustainability 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.

The Zurich Financial Services Distinguished Visitors Program on Climate Change allows the Bren School to attract international leaders in environmental policy, law, business, and science to enrich and expand the intellectual life of the Bren School community and share insight on issues critical to climate change. Activities of the visitors, who are in residence for periods ranging from one week to one quarter, include teaching short courses, offering public lectures, conducting seminars, and leading colloquia and symposia planned around their research, professional endeavors, or areas of expertise.

Dr. Viana is the first of three Distinguished Visitors who will spend time at the Bren School during the 2010-2011 academic year. The others are David Tilman, Regents' Professor and McKnight Presidential Chair in Ecology at the University of Minnesota and director of the university's Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve; and Denny Ellerman, a retired professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an internationally recognized expert on energy and environmental economics.


NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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