Solomon Dobrowski

Photo of Dobrowski, Solomon

Solomon Dobrowski

Professor of Forest Landscape Ecology



PhD, Ecology. University of California, Davis. 2005.

Master of Science, Horticulture. University of California, Davis. 2001.

Bachelor of Science, Resource Management. University of California, Berkeley. 1997.

Courses Taught

University of Montana (2007-present):

  • FOR 595;ModernApplied Statistical Modeling in Ecology (graduate level)
  • FOR 495; Foundations of Landscape Ecology (graduate level)
  • FOR 302; Forest Measurements (undergraduate level)
  • BIO 451; Landscape ecology of the Northern Rockies (summer field course)

Research Interests


Using historical datasets to test uncertainty in species distribution model projections through time.

University of Montana & University of California, Davis                               2008-present

We are investigating the predictive ability of species distribution models in novel temporal and spatial domains using historical and contemporary vegetation and climate data from the mountain ranges of California, USA. We are examining how species functional traits, land-use type, and disturbance regime influences model skill and uncertainty.


The role of terrain of terrain in shaping the adaptive response of biota to climate change

University of Montana                                                                                    2009- present

We are quantifying the extent to which landscape physiography influences regional climate patterns and climate displacement rates for both temperature and water balance. We are also examining historical data and paleoecological records to assess how organisms utilized terrain to mitigate against climate changes of the Quaternary. 


Providing decision support for assisted migration planning to mitigate against climate change impacts

University of Montana & USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station                2010-present

We are examining current approaches for assisted migration planning with a focus on analytical methods used to quantify extinction risk and models used to identify future suitable habitat. We are developing methods that are better able to quantify uncertainty in climate change impact projections.


Past, current, and future fire regimes of the Sierra Nevada, CA.

University of Montana & USFS Region 5                                                        2007-present

We are quantifying the relative role of anthropogenic, climatic, and biotic influences on fire probability in the western US using multiple modeling approaches. We are also studying the transformation, loss, and recovery of forest carbon resources due to management and wildfire. 


Modeling and mapping vegetation across environmental gradients

University of California Davis                                                                         2004-2009

We developed improved strategies for modeling and mapping plant species distributions, vegetation structure, and biomass using species distribution models and high resolution satellite imagery (pixel resolution ≤ 1m2). We developed techniques for identifying individual tree crowns within high resolution imagery and pattern recognition techniques to identify forest stands, and vegetation patches of homogeneous physiognomy, structure, and floristics.


Selected Publications

Dobrowski, S.Z. (2011) A climatic basis for microrefugia: the influence of terrain on climate. Global Change Biology 17(2): 1022-1035. (Faculty of 1000 Biology)

Cleveland, C.C., A.R. Townsend, P. Taylor, S. Alvarez-Clare, M.M.C. Bustamante, G. Chuyong, S.Z. Dobrowski, P. Grierson, K.E. Harms, B.Z. Houlton, A. Marklein, W. Parton, S. Porder, S.C. Reed, C.A. Sierra, W.L. Silver, E.V.J. Tanner, and W.R. Wieder. (2011) Relationships among net primary productivity, nutrients and climate in tropical rain forests: a pan-tropical analysis. Ecology Letters 14(9): 939-947.

Dobrowski, S.Z., J.H. Thorne, J.A. Greenberg,H.D. Safford, A.R. Mynsberge, S.M. Crimmins, and A.K. Swanson (2011) Modeling plant distributions over 75 years of measured climate change in California, USA: Relating temporal transferability to species traits. Ecological Monographs 81(2): 241-257.

Crimmins, S.M., S.Z. Dobrowski, J.A. Greenberg, J. Abatzoglou, and A.R. Mynsberge (2011) Changes in climatic water balance drive downhill shifts in plant species' optimum elevations. Science 331: 324-327. (Faculty of 1000 Biology; featured in Nature Climate Change)

Dobrowski, S.Z., Crimmins, S.M., J.A. Greenberg, J. Abatzoglou, and A.R. Mynsberge (2011) Response to comments on “Changes in climatic water balance drive downhill shifts in plant species' optimum elevations” Science 334.

Parisien, M. A., S. Snetsinger, J. A. Greenberg, C. R. Nelson, T. Schoennagel, S. Z.   Dobrowski, and M. A. Moritz. (In press). Spatial variability in wildfire probability across the western United States. International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Dobrowski, S.Z., J.T. Abatzoglou, J.A. Greenberg, S.G. Schladow (2009) How much influence does landscape-scale physiography have on air temperature in a mountain environment? Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 149: 1751-1758

Greenberg, J.A., S.Z. Dobrowski, V.C. Vanderbilt. (2009) Limitations of maximum tree density using hyperspatial remote sensing and envrionmental gradient analysis. Remote Sensing of Environment 113: 94-101

Dobrowski, S.Z., H.D. Safford, C.A. Rueda, and S.L. Ustin (2008) Mapping mountain vegetation using image-based texture analysis, predictive species distribution modeling, and object-based classification. Applied Vegetation Science 11: 499-508.

Hammersmark, C.T, S.Z. Dobrowski, M.C. Rains, and J.F. Mount (2008) Simulated effects of stream restoration on the distribution of wet meadow vegetation. Restoration Ecology (in press)

Dobrowski, S.Z. and S.K. Murphy (2006) A practical look at the variable area transect. Ecology 87 (7): 1856-1860.

Malhi, R.S., Gonzalez-Oliver, A., Schroeder, K.B., Kemp, B.M., Greenberg, J.A., S.Z. Dobrowski, Smith, D.G. et al. (2008). Distribution of Y Chromosomes Among Native North Americans: A Study of Athapaskan Population History. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 137: 412-424

Dobrowski, S.Z., J.A. Greenberg, C.M. Ramirez, and S.L. Ustin (2006) Improving image derived vegetation maps with regression based distribution modeling. Ecological Modeling 192: 126-142.

Greenberg, J.A., S.Z. Dobrowski, C.M. Ramirez, J.L. Tuil, and S.L. Ustin (2006) A bottom-up approach to vegetation mapping of the Lake Tahoe Basin using hyperspatial image analysis. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 72 (5): 581-589.

Greenberg, J.A., S.Z. Dobrowski, and S.L. Ustin (2005) Shadow allometry: estimating tree structural parameters using hyperspatial image analysis. Remote Sensing of Environment 97: 15-25.

Dobrowski, S.Z., J.C. Pushnik, P.J. Zarco-Tejada, and S.L. Ustin (2005) Simple reflectance indices track heat and water stress induced changes in steady state chlorophyll fluorescence at the canopy scale. Remote Sensing of Environment 97: 403-414.

Roberts, D.A., S.L. Ustin, S. Ogunjemiyo, J. Greenberg, S.Z. Dobrowski, J. Chen, and T.M. Hinckley (2004) Scaling up the forests of the Pacific Northwest using remote sensing. Ecosystems 7 (5): 545-562.

Zarco-Tejada, P.J., J.C. Pushnik, S.Z. Dobrowski, and S.L Ustin (2002) Steady-state chlorophyll a fluorescence detection from canopy derivative reflectance and double-peak red edge effects. Remote Sensing of Environment 84: 283-294.