University of California, Berkeley

Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist – Forest Products and Woody Biomass – Environmental Science, Policy & Management
Recruitment Period
Open date: August 5th, 2016 Next review date: September 15th, 2016
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee. Final date: December 1st, 2016
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.
The Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley seeks an Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist in Forest Products and Woody Biomass. This position is a full time, career-track appointment. The general disciplinary focus of this position is the sustainable use of forest and wood resources. Priority issues include life-cycle assessments and carbon cycles of forest products including wood-based bioenergy, efficiency and conservation in forest products and bioenergy technology, and the impacts of utilization on community development, economic, and environmental concerns. The CE Specialist in Forest Products and Biomass will develop and promote methods for efficient and environmentally acceptable utilization of wood resources and woody biomass and analyze the impacts of forest management practices and utilization on the ability of the state to meet its greenhouse gas emission goals.
The issues addressed by this position are of importance in every county in California that has a forest base, an existing or potential wood manufacturing industry, or an interest in biomass (including urban woody waste) and bioenergy; that is, every county in the state. The client base for this position includes public and private forestland owners and managers, county-based Cooperative Extension personnel, energy and forest product companies, as well as public agencies involved in climate change policy development, waste management and forestry issues. Interest in this position is from the following University of California units: UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy Management, UC Davis Biological and Agricultural Engineering, California Biomass Collaborative, UC Center for Forestry, the UC Center for Fire Research and Outreach, the UC Davis Energy Institute, and the UC Berkeley Energy Bioscience Institute. In addition, the need for this position is recognized and supported by many of the ANR County based CE Advisors, especially those with a notable economic forest base.
Justification: California manages one of the nation’s largest forest resources, is a leading manufacturer of lumber and wood products, and is the leading consumer of wood-based products in the US. The dense urban population centers and agricultural industries in California also produce vast quantities of woody biomass residues that is an underutilized energy and economic resource with important climate change implications.
This specialist position fills a critical need and provides an opportunity for UCANR leadership and collaboration with many universities and public agencies in the globally important issues related to sustainable manufacturing and use of products from a renewable resource that has a competitive greenhouse gas advantage over fossil fuel-based products. In addition, it addresses the potential opportunity to use small or cosmetically blemished biomass that is not sold as dimensional lumber but could be utilized in new engineered wood products. California has large volumes from densely packed stands of small diameter trees, drought-stressed and beetle-killed trees, chaparral, and other forms of non- commercial woody biomass in much of California’s timberlands and the wildland/urban interface. This woody biomass significantly adds to fuel loads that can be burned in catastrophic wildfires. This CE Specialist position will provide valuable support, information, analysis, and leadership to the CE Advisors, landowners, land managers, community leaders, planners and policy developers involved with maintaining a healthy forest products economy, managing the wildfire risk, and providing economic and operational guidance for forest-based communities. The position provides capacity to help develop strategies to grow productive forest and biomass-based communities, design intelligent waste management systems, and build a sustainable bio-based product and renewable energy industry relevant to much of the state. Expertise in wood properties, feedstock supply chains, and the forest products industry provided by this specialist will also support the advanced research in conversion of biomass resources to energy and fuel underway at UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) and the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI).
Extension: Extension activities expected of this position include the continuation of the successful outreach efforts of the existing forest product and woody biomass program started by the two retired CE advisors that include the following.
• Assist and collaborate with county-based extension advisors, especially those involved with natural resources related community and economic development, and public policy. Relevant topics include evaluation of local resources and feedstocks, appropriate technology, utilization of woody material from insect and disease outbreaks.
• Develop, implement, and facilitate statewide conferences and regional workshops.
• Participate in regional planning and economic development activities providing expertise in integrating bioenergy into manufacturing and value added processing.
• Provide leadership on statewide committees and workgroups involved with biomass and bioenergy issues, including the California Biomass Collaborative, the Biomass Working Group, and the Statewide Wood Energy Team.
• Expand on innovative extension delivery through the ANR websites and social media, factsheets, maps, interactive analysis tools, and ANR publications.
• Collaborate with AES and other UC faculty involved with bioenergy.
• Increase the knowledge base through collaboration with the major public, private industrial, and private non-industrial landowners of California.
• Provide expertise to policy-makers and legislators on forest products and bioenergy.
Research: Opportunities abound for applied research for this position. In the forest products area, important research topics include evaluation and clarification of climate benefits of using manufactured wood products instead of non-renewable, fossil fuel intensive products such as concrete and steel; evaluation of physical properties and utilization opportunities of under-utilized wood resources; and, economic impacts of technology and policy changes on the forest products industry. There is also considerable scope to promote the increased use of traditional and innovative wood products in buildings ranging from single family homes to large commercial and residential structures. In the bioenergy area important research topics include product life cycles, resource availability, greenhouse gas benefits, public benefits of using woody biomass, and economic issues related to sustainable biofuel production from wood. Substantial opportunity exists for applied research supporting the innovations in microbial technology at UC Berkeley’s Joint BioEnergy Institute and the Energy Biosciences Institute. The CE Specialist position will also have the opportunity to develop a research program that addresses cross- cutting issues related to the expansion in production of bio-based products (fuels, materials) including land use change, supply-chain logistics and feedstock economics, and life-cycle emission inventories and developing waste/residue utilization and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
ANR Continuum: Collaboration opportunities for this Specialist include the AES faculty of the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources and the Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, the AES faculty of the UC Davis Dept. of Biological & Ag. Engineering and Dept. of Plant Sciences, and the Natural Resource Advisors in counties with important forest-based economies, high wildfire risk, or with wood or biomass processing facilities. For example, within the past 6 years the ANR Woody Biomass Program (led by retiring Advisor Shelly) collaborated with County Advisors in 18 different counties to present 46 workshops reaching more than 2000 interested people and helping 18 small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profit community groups to secure more than $5 million in federal grants to help develop woody biomass and bioenergy enterprises. Heavily forested counties such as Humboldt, Shasta, Siskiyou and Tuolumne have been recipients of multiple workshops and expertise from the group.
With the 2004 closure of the UC Forest Products Laboratory, the retirement of UCANR Advisor Steve Quarles, and the pending 2014 retirement of UCANR Advisor John Shelly there is a critical gap in cooperative extension expertise in wood products and woody biomass utilization. The above two advisors developed and managed a well-respected, and nationally recognized, statewide program in wood products/woody biomass that successfully acquired more than $2.5 Million in external funds over the past 10 years to support research and outreach activities. The program has seen a growing interest in biomass utilization and is well positioned to leverage support in a range of utilization opportunities. Two of the strongest supporters of the program, the USDA Forest Service and Cal Fire (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection), are committed to supporting a UCANR Specialist position.
Support: Office space, administrative support, office supplies, internet and telephone access will be provided by the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM) consistent with that provided to other faculty. Funding for research and program travel will be sourced from a variety of agencies that grant funds for forest product, biomass and bioenergy projects, as listed below. Existing grant agreements between the USDA Forest Service – Region 5 have some remaining academic staff funding currently used for an Academic Coordinator position that could assist the CE Specialist position described here.
Other support: The organizations that have funded the Forest Products and Biomass program are expected to continue. In addition the following organizations have provided input to and support this proposal: the USDA Forest Service, Cal Fire, California Energy Commission, California EPA Secretary for Climate and Policy, and the California Resources Agency Secretariat for Energy and Climate Change. Additional opportunities for financial support are through grants from the US Department of Energy, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer.
Location: UC Berkeley ESPM is a strong home for this position. UC Berkeley has a critical mass of faculty with expertise in forestry, forest products, biomass, and bioenergy issues. Locating the position within The College of Natural Resources faculty is also complemented by collaborative opportunities between CNR faculty and the internationally recognized bioenergy research at the Energy Biosciences Institute, and the Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia National Laboratories.
The completion of all Ph.D. (or relevant terminal degree such as a Master’s in Architecture or Landscape Architecture) degree requirements except the dissertation is required at the time of application. The Ph.D. (or relevant terminal such as a Master’s in Architecture or Landscape Architecture) degree is required by the start date. The successful candidate will have a doctoral degree (or relevant terminal degree) in a discipline related to forest products and their uses. Preferred qualifications include demonstrated writing and public speaking skills to communicate to a diverse audience of professional and non-technical clientele, the ability to design and carry out high quality research in a discipline related to forest products, and the capacity to serve as a team member on interdisciplinary projects involving the life cycle of forest based products. The candidate should be able to work productively with diverse communities and stakeholders, and to build cross-disciplinary teams. Salary is commensurate with experience.
The Specialist will be expected to develop a nationally competitive research program and to obtain extramural grant funds. Meaningful engagement in University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resource’s Strategic Initiatives and Program Teams is also essential for a successful program, see ( and
To apply, please go to the following link: Applicants should submit the following required documents online: 1) a cover letter, 2) a curriculum vitae, 3) a statement of research and extension interests and experience, 4) a statement of past and/or potential contributions to
diversity and inclusion, and 5) contact information for three referees who may be asked to submit a letter of recommendation. In addition, applicants are encouraged to submit pdf copies of up to three recent publications (optional). Each document should be submitted as a separate pdf file. Filenames should include the applicant’s last and first names. Letters of reference will be requested as needed for committee deliberations. All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including when letters are provided via a third party (i.e. dossier service or career center) to the UC Berkeley Statement of Confidentiality ( prior to submitting their letters.
This position will remain open until filled. The anticipated start date is after January 1, 2017. Please direct questions
The department seeks candidates whose research and service has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and inclusion in education and outreach. The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:
Job location
Berkeley, CA
Cover Letter – File name should include applicant’s first and last name.
Curriculum Vitae – File name should include applicant’s first and last name.
Statement of Research and Extension Interests and Experience – File name should include applicant’s first and last name.
Statement of Contributions to Diversity and Inclusion – A statement of past and/or potential contributions to diversity and inclusion. File name should include applicant’s first and last name.
Publication #1 – PDF copy of recent publication #1 (Optional)
Publication #2 – PDF copy of recent publication #2 (Optional)
Publication #3 – PDF copy of recent publication #3 (Optional)
References3 references required (contact information only)