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Who Are We?

The Woody Biomass Utilization Group is an outgrowth of the former University of California Forest Products Laboratory (UCFPL) that was closed in 2004 in response to changing priorities within the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources.

After nearly 50 years of research focus on the properties, mechanical processing, durability, and chemical processing of commercial species; an interest began to develop in woody biomass and underutilized wood resources. This new direction opened opportunities for state and federal funding. Beginning in 2005 and continuing to today, the California Department of Forestry and the US Forest Service – Region 5 State and Private Forestry began cooperative agreements with UC Berkeley to fund projects with former UCFPL academic Cooperative Extension staff.

These projects are aimed at developing the utilization of the hardwood and woody biomass component of forests that often are the fuel source of catastrophic wildfires, and minimizing the risks associated with wildfire. These projects include:

  1. Improving the capacity and markets for wood biomass utilization
  2. Wood properties of Pacific Island hardwoods
  3. Hazardous fuels removal technologies
  4. Research into commercialization of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage


Current Staff

Photo of Cindy X. Chen
Cindy X. Chen
Title: Woody Biomass and Forest Products Advisor
2 S Green Street
Sonora, CA 95370
Phone: (209) 533-6989
Email: cxnchen@ucanr.edu
Photo of Haris Gilani, Ph.D.
Haris Gilani, Ph.D.
Title: Biomass & Bioenergy Advisor
Specialty: Biomass & Bioenergy; Natural Resources Economics; Carbon Dioxide Removal
University of California, Cooperative Extension Riverside County
2980 Washington Street
Riverside, CA 92504
Fax: (951) 788-2615
Email: hgilani@ucanr.edu
Photo of Rachelle Hedges
Rachelle Hedges
Title: Project and Policy Analyst II
Specialty: Berkeley Forests
Email: rachelle.hedges@berkeley.edu
Photo of Daniel L Sanchez
Daniel L Sanchez
Title: Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist
Specialty: Carbon dioxide removal, biomass, bioenergy
University of California, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management
130 Mulford Hall, MC 3114
Berkeley, CA 94720-3114
Email: sanchezd@berkeley.edu
Photo of Ricky Satomi
Ricky Satomi
Title: Forestry/Natural Resources Advisor
Specialty: Forest Management, Geographic Information Systems, Biomass
142A Garden Highway
Yuba City, CA 95991-5512
Phone: 530-822-6213
Email: rpsatomi@ucanr.edu
Photo of John Shelly, Ph.D.
John Shelly, Ph.D.
Title: CE AdvisorĀ - Forest Products and Biomass Utilization, Emeritus
Specialty: Forest Products, Wood manufacturing methods, biomass utilization,physical properties of wood
UC Berkeley, Richmond Field Station
1301 South 46th Street, Bldg 478
Richmond, CA 94804
Phone: (510) 665-3491
Fax: 510-665-3427
Email: jshelly@berkeley.edu