Scientists & Staff

Grant M. Domke

Grant M. Domke

Team Leader, Research Forester
1992 Folwell Avenue
St. Paul, MN, 55108-1034
Phone: 651-649-5138

Contact Grant M. Domke

Current Research

I have leadership responsibilities for forest carbon estimation and reporting within the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program of the USDA Forest Service. This program is responsible for reporting on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals in the forest land category as part of the United States' commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This involves working with a team of scientists and staff to compile estimates of carbon stocks and stock changes in forest ecosystems for national and international reporting instruments.

Research Interests

In addition to leadership of the carbon estimation and reporting group, I use strategic-level forest inventory data and auxiliary information (e.g., climate and remotely sensed data) to develop models that estimate carbon stocks and stock changes in forest ecosystem carbon pools for the FIA program and GHG reporting. I am also interested in developing new inventory and monitoring techniques to facilitate carbon estimation and accounting across spatial and temporal scales.

Why This Research is Important

Forest ecosystems represent the largest terrestrial carbon sink on earth and provide myriad goods and services to society. Improving our understanding of forest carbon dynamics will provide Forest Service partners with a better picture of the forest resource, allowing them to make more informed policy and management decisions.


  • University of Minnesota, Ph.D. Quantitative Silviculture and Forest Ecosystem Health, 2010
  • University of Toronto, M.S. Applied Forest Ecology and Silviculture, 2005
  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, B.S. Biology and Forest Ecosystem Restoration and Management, 2003

Professional Experience

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor in Forest Resources, University of Minnesota 2011 - Current

Professional Organizations

  • International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) (2013 - Current)
  • American Geophysical Union (2010 - Current)
  • Ecological Society of America (2004 - Current)
  • Society of American Foresters (SAF) (2001 - 2010)

Awards & Recognition

  • Research & Development Deputy Chief's Science Delivery Award , 2021 Recognized for leadership, service, and contributions in providing value to users of scientific research through science delivery; contributions of major impact to science, technology, and natural resource policy; and development of effective partnerships
  • Forest Inventory and Analysis Directors Award , 2018 Selected for contributions on carbon science within the national FIA program with research recognized "as definitive in the international area of GHG estimates for forests."
  • NRS Director's Award - Early Career Scientist, 2014 Given in recognition of science accomplishments and contributions to carbon and biomass research achievements in the Northern Research Station within 5 years of completing a Ph.D.
  • Spot Award, 2012 In recognition and extra effort to revise substantial portions of the U.S.'s 2012 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, revisions published in EPA's 2012 NGHGI

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Distribution of (A) understocked timberland by ownership in the CONUS, (B) tree density by ownership and all live stocking on timberland in the CONUS (number of trees), (C)  aboveground live tree CO2 density (t ha-1) and mean annual net CO2 flux (t ha-1 yr-1) by ownership and all live tree stocking in the CONUS, and (D) reforestation area and CO2 sequestration potential – based on current tree planting capacity in the US – when increasing stocking on timberland from non-stocked to poorly stocked, medium stocked, or fully stocked in the CONUS. Error bars represent the 95% confidence intervals. Negative estimates indicate net C uptake (i.e., a net removal of C from the atmosphere).

Potential to Increase Carbon Sequestration with Tree Planting

Year: 2020

Almost one-third of Earth’s total land area is comprised of forest, which is also the largest terrestrial carbon sink. A Northern Research Station scientist and his partners have established that fully stocking the Nation’s understocked forests could increase carbon sequestration by about 20 percent.

Interior Alaska Landscape taken from a helicopter transporting FIA field crews to remote inventory plots.

Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals from Managed Forest Land in Alaska

Year: 2019

Alaska forests represent 10 percent of the total managed forest land area in the United States but store 17 percent of the total carbon in forests. These forests also represent a net carbon sink over the last 27 years but there is considerable interannual variability driven, in large part, by wildfire. Emissions from severe fire years in Alaska substantially reduce the contribution of forests in the United States as a carbon sink in those years.

Close-up view of hands surrounding a freshly-planted pine tree seedling

Another Benefit of Reforestation: Soil Carbon Sequestration

Year: 2018

The rate of carbon sequestration in forests is projected to decline in the decades ahead, largely because more forest land will be developed and today’s aging forests sequester less carbon. In a first-of-its-kind analysis, Northern Research Station scientists and University of Michigan partners have found that forest soils can potentially sequester two billion tons of carbon this century with increased reforestation efforts.

Estimates of carbon dioxide equivalent for the forest land category in the United States (negative estimates represent sequestration). DOS: Drained organic soils, Fire: wild and prescribed fire emissions (N20 and CH4), FLCL: Forest Land Converted to Land, FLRFL: Forest Land Remaining Forest Land, Harvested Wood Products, Land Converted to Forest Land.

Land use conversion to and from forest land has important implications on the National Greenhouse Gas Budget

Year: 2017

Land use and land use change data from the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program makes possible a first-of-its-kind analysis of carbon dynamics associated with forest land conversion in the National Inventory Report of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks in the U.S.

Predictions of soil organic carbon stocks (0-100 cm) for all Forest Inventory and Analysis plots in the conterminous United States.  U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Field Measurements Confirm Importance of Litter and Soil Carbon in U.S. Forests

Year: 2016

Field measurements of litter and soil attributes in the Forest Inventory and Analysis program were used, for the first time, to develop predictions of litter and soil carbon (C) stocks and stock changes in U.S. forests. This work resulted in substantial increases in the contribution of the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool, from approximately 44 percent of the total forest ecosystem C stocks to 71 percent, in the forest C budget of the United States.

Map of downed and dead woody material. Grant Domke, USDA Forest Service

Better Estimates of Carbon Inventory in Dead Wood Now Available

Year: 2013

Researchers with the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program have sampled downed and dead woody material (DWM) since 2002 so most U.S. states now have a complete cycle of DWM data. As a result, for the first time, researchers used field measurements to obtain estimates of DWM biomass and carbon stocks for the FIA program's report and for DWM carbon estimates in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory report.

Last modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2023