Giuliana Furci

Founder of the Fungi Foundation, the first NGO dedicated to fungi in the world.

[Credit: Mateo Barrenengoa]

Giuliana Furci has been working for the fungi since 1999, being the first female mycologist of non-lichenized mushrooms in Chile. Her work triggered the inclusion of fungi in Chilean environmental legislation and made it possible to assess the conservation status of over 80 species of fungi. She is the founder and CEO of the Fungi Foundation, the first NGO in the world dedicated to the protection of fungi, with offices in Chile and the USA.

She is a Harvard University associate, National Geographic Explorer, Dame of the Order of the Star of Italy, deputy chair of the IUCN Fungal Conservation Committee, and author of several titles including a series of field guides to Chilean fungi. She is also co-author of titles such as the "1st State of the World's Fungi" (Kew, 2018); the publication delimiting the term “funga” and the 3F Proposal - Fauna, Flora & Funga. The latter is the initial point for the FFF Initiative (Fauna, Flora, Funga) which advocates for the use of mycologically-inclusive language worldwide. Organizations such as IUCN SSC, ReWild and the Brazilian Government Programme “Flora e Funga do Brasil”, among many others, have joined the cause.

Giuliana has held consulting positions in U.S. philanthropic foundations as well as full-time positions in international and Chilean marine conservation non-profits. She sits on the Board of Fundación Acción Fauna, and on the Advisory Board of the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), and other organizations. Giuliana has received several distinctions including the 2022 Buffett/National Geographic Leadership in Conservation in Latin America Award, 2022 Gordon and Tina Wasson Award from the Mycological Society of America, and the 2013 Presidents Award from the International Society for Fungal Conservation.

She is the curator of the FFCL Fungarium, which is continuously studied in collaboration with experts from Harvard University, Conicet Argentina, University of Florida, and other institutions. As a field mycologist, she helped describe two new species: Amanita galactica (2020) and Cortinarius chlorosplendidus (2019), and conducted mycological expeditions in close to 20 countries.

Giuliana has given lectures, courses, and seminars in more than 10 countries around the world, on 4 continents. Her work with the Fungi Foundation has been featured in international media such as the New York Times, The Guardian, Science Magazine, BBC, The Atlantic, and the Times of India.

Paul Stamets

When Giuliana Furci first came to my workshop on cultivation as a young woman in 2005, traveling all the way from Chile, I knew then that she would make mycological history. Not only has she helped change the Chilean legislation to recognize fungi to be considered as essential organisms when evaluating ecosystems before development, but her influence has spread globally.

Paul Stamets

Mycologist, inventor, author, entrepreneur, teacher

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