Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Greg C. Liknes

Physical Scientist
Forest Inventory & Analysis
1992 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States
Current Research

I am a Physical Scientist in the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Research Work Unit. The FIA program at the Northern Research Station is responsible for the forest land inventories of 24 states extending from the Great Plains to the northeastern United States. My current research interest is the application of geospatial and remote sensing technologies to improving the precision and efficiency of inventories.

Past Research
I have worked in several different areas of research either supporting forest inventory operations or utilizing inventory data to address ecological questions:
  • semi-automated approaches to mapping the landscape using high-resolution imagery, particularly in areas with tree cover that do not meet a traditional definition of forest (e.g., narrow windbreaks in the Great Plains)
  • determining the best methods for combining climate data with forest inventory information (e.g., to support analysis of elevated tree mortality related to drought)
  • canopy cover modeling (formerly as the Forest Service science team leader for the NLCD canopy cover dataset)
Research Interest
I work with a variety of airborne and spaceborne sensors including multi-spectral and optical imagery, lidar, and radar. I'm exploring digital stereo imagery (specifically, photogrammetrically-derived point clouds) and the potential for improved estimates of forest volume and biomass over large areas. I work at the intersection of GIS, data science, and remote sensing with the aim of applying best practices from these fields to improve the efficiency of workflows and to analyze large amounts of information.
Why This Research Is Important

The FIA program fills critical forest information needs for a variety of customers in state government, the timber industry, environmental organizations, and many more. As a neutral provider of data, FIA seeks to constantly improve the inventory efficiency and utility in order to maximize the return on taxpayer dollars. Integrating geospatial and remote sensing technologies into inventory processes aids in achieving this objective.

  • University of Minnesota, M.S., Department of Soil, Water, & Climate, 1999
  • University of North Dakota, B.S., Department of Atmospheric Science, 1996
Professional Experience
  • District GIS Coordinator,  Minnesota Department of Transportation,  2019 - 2020
Professional Organizations
  • Member,  Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium,  2001 - Current
Awards & Recognition
  • Microsoft AI for Earth grant recipient, 2017
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Partnerships Produce High-resolution Land Cover Maps of the Central Plains

Year: 2016
High-resolution maps, created by the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program and its research partners, are being used to fill a monitoring role for important tree resources in the Plains States of Nebraska and Kansas.

Forest Inventory and Analysis Data Helps Inform Landscape Drivers of Insect-induced Tamarack Mortality

Year: 2016
Tamarack trees have long been associated with Minnesota’s “Great North Woods” and have seen a slow but steady rise in abundance starting in the mid-20th century. Now, an eruption in the population of native eastern larch beetles is causing mortality of tamarack to climb.

Eastern Redcedar Forests are Expanding in the Central United States

Year: 2015
Monitoring of change in our nation’s forest resources is an important aspect of the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) work in the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station. FIA scientists analyzed more than 8,000 sites and found that eastern red cedar has been increasing its numbers in the Centr...