Scientists & Staff

Greg C. Liknes

Research Physical Scientist
1992 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN, 55108
Phone: 651-649-5192

Contact Greg C. Liknes


Current Research

I am a Research 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 as well as reducing cost. I am interested in semi-automated approaches to mapping the landscape using high-resolution imagery, particulary in areas with tree cover that do not meet a traditional definition of forest. I also conduct research to determine the best methods for combining climate data with forest inventory information in order to address ecological questions regarding drivers of changes to forests.

Research Interests

In addition to my work with high-resolution imagery and climate data, I am the current science team leader for the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) tree canopy cover product. The Forest Service is a member of the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC) and is responsible for producing the tree canopy dataset for the United States using Landsat imagery with a 5-year update cycle.

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.

Professional Organizations

  • American Geophysical Union (2010 - Current)

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Datasets

  • Hewes, Jaketon H.; Butler, Brett J.; Liknes, Greg C. 2017. Forest ownership in the conterminous United States circa 2014: distribution of seven ownership types - geospatial dataset. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0007.
  • Paull, Darci A.; Whitson, Jakob W.; Marcotte, Abbey L.; Liknes, Greg C.; Meneguzzo, Dacia M.; Kellerman, Todd A. 2017. High-resolution land cover of Kansas (2015). Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0025.
  • Hewes, Jaketon H.; Butler, Brett J.; Liknes, Greg C.; Nelson, Mark D.; Snyder, Stephanie A. 2014. Public and private forest ownership in the conterminous United States: distribution of six ownership types - geospatial dataset. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2014-0002.
  • Liknes, Greg C.; Nelson, Mark D.; Kaisershot, Daniel J. 2013. Historical woodland density of the conterminous United States, 1873. Newtown Square, PA: USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2013-0006.
  • Nelson, Mark D.; Liknes, Greg C.; Butler, Brett J. 2010. Forest ownership in the conterminous United States: ForestOwn_v1 geospatial dataset. Newtown Square, PA: USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2010-0002.

National Research Highlights

Gallery pattern of eastern larch beetle under the bark of an infested tamarack.  Steven Katovich, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Bugwood.org. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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.

High-resolution maps showing windbreaks (left) facilitate monitoring in the dynamic agricultural landscapes of the central U.S. In this area, 33 acres of windbreaks have been removed between 2009 and 2012. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

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.

An example of eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) expansion into grasslands in eastern Nebraska. USDA Forest Service

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 Central United States.

Last modified: Tuesday, April 11, 2017