Robert Fofrich headshot

Robert Fofrich, Ph.D.

UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow

Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Academic Website

UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow Program

Robert Fofrich is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of the Environment & Sustainability. His research primarily focuses on global environmental change and can be broadly categorized into three main areas: first, understanding the causes of environmental change; second, quantifying their impacts on human and natural systems; and lastly, finding ways to mitigate these environmental changes. He is also committed to seeking equitable solutions that protect vulnerable populations within society and the natural world.

Fofrich earned his Ph.D. in Earth System Science in 2022 from the University of California, Irvine. His dissertation centered on the intersection of climate change, energy, and agricultural systems. While energy and food production represent the largest anthropogenic drivers of global environmental change, they are also integral to contemporary existence. Nonetheless, much of the world’s population still lacks consistent access to affordable food and energy. Thus, identifying sustainable and equitable ways to produce food and energy is essential to address worldwide environmental degradation.

As a postdoc at IoES, Fofrich seeks to understand the land-use and agricultural trade-offs associated with biogenic climate change mitigation solutions in tropical environments. Climate change is one of our generation’s most pressing environmental issues. However, many climate pathways successfully avoid 2°C by dedicating large areas of land to climate change mitigation. This is of particular concern in the tropical regions, given the potential for biodiversity and carbon storage loss in addition to the disruption of regional food systems. Additionally, due to the biophysical constraints governing plant growth, numerous biogenic climate solutions cannot thrive under specific environmental conditions, particularly in regions where they exist at the edge of their climatological niche. As a result, the viability of the tropics for biogenic energy production is expected to decline under future warming scenarios and thus warrants further investigation.