Jingjing Liang Prof. Jingjing Liang

Dr. Liang is an associate professor of quantitative forest ecology at Purdue University. He has founded Science-i in 2022, and co-founded the Global Forest Biodiversity Initiative (GFBI) in 2016. Jingjing Liang has developed the first comprehensive global forest inventory database GFBI with more than 1.3 million sample plots. Jingjing Liang has been working on connecting machine learning and big data in studying fundamental questions in biodiversity and ecosystem processes, ecological and socioeconomic impacts of biological conservation. A strong advocate of open data in global forest research, Jingjing Liang has served the scientific community with data and data products, as well as high-impact research discoveries on the world’s forest resources and their conservation.  


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Dr. Liang is the founder and chief science officer of Science-i, a transparent and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) web platform for international research collaboration. Dr. Liang has also cofounded Global Forest Biodiversity Initiative, an international multi-stakeholder team of foresters and forest scientists that supports cutting-edge research and policy making in forest sciences and related areas.

Dr. Liang is a certified forester and enjoys having a boots-on-the-ground experience leading forest inventories in Alaska boreal forests and Central hardwood forests. Dr. Liang is the leading author of research articles published in top journals such as Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

Dr. Liang’s research is interested in global biodiversity patterns and associated environmental and anthropogenic drivers, and he approaches this by utilizing machine learning and big data to help unravel the pressing issues facing the field today. While he’s working on answering today’s tough questions, Dr. Liang believes that the future success of the field will depend heavily on international collaborations and leveraging artificial intelligence to produce high impact research.

When Dr. Liang isn’t busy teaching his Big Data in Forest Research course or training machine learning algorithms, he enjoys running and cycling. Dr. Liang is feeling right at home on the Purdue campus surrounded by our population of ginkgo trees, which he has a special affection for them due to them being incredibly unique and being living fossils.


  • 2005, Ph.D. (Forestry), University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 2001, B.S. (Ecology- Environmental Sciences), Peking University

Professional experience

  • 2018 – 2022 Associate Professor of Quantitative Forest Ecology, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University
  • 2018 – 2022 Assistant Professor of Quantitative Forest Ecology, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University
  • 2017– 2018 Associate Professor of Forest Ecology, School of Natural Resources, West Virginia University
  • 2011—2017 Assistant Professor of Forest Ecology, School of Natural Resources, West Virginia University
  • 2007—2011 Assistant Professor of Forest Biometrics and Management, School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 2006—2007 Post-doctoral Biometrician
    Forest Sciences Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rocky Mountain Research Station
  • 2005—2006 Research Associate
    Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 2001—2005 Research Assistant
    Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison


  • Since 2019, Senior member of the Editorial Team, Scientific Data
  • Since 2018, Senior member of the Editorial Team, Forest Ecosystems

Featured Publications

Liang, J.*, J. G. P. Gamarra, N. Picard, M. Zhou, B. Pijanowski, D. F. Jacobs, P. B. Reich, T. W. Crowther, G.-J. Nabuurs, S. de-Miguel, J. Fang, C. W. Woodall, J.-C. Svenning, T. Jucker, J.-F. Bastin, S. K. Wiser, F. Slik, B. Hérault, G. Alberti, G. Keppel, G. M. Hengeveld, P. L. Ibisch, C. A. Silva, H. ter Steege, P. L. Peri, D. A. Coomes, E. B. Searle, K. von Gadow, B. Jaroszewicz, GFBI Consortium, and C. Hui*. 2022. Co-limitation towards lower latitudes shapes global forest diversity gradients. Nature ecology & evolution: s41559-022-01831-x.

Details and downloads

Cazzolla Gatti, R., P. B. Reich*, J. G. P. Gamarra, T. Crowther, C. Hui, GFBI Consortium, and J. Liang*. 2022. The number of tree species on Earth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119:e2115329119.

Details and downloads

(Co-first author) Steidinger, B. S., T. W. Crowther, J. Liang, M. E. Van Nuland, G. D. A. Werner, P. B. Reich, G. Nabuurs, S. de-Miguel, M. Zhou, N. Picard, B. Herault, X. Zhao, C. Zhang, D. Routh, K. G. Peay, and GFBI consortium. 2019. Climatic controls of decomposition drive the global biogeography of forest-tree symbioses. Nature 569:404-408.

Details and downloads

Liang, J, T. W. Crowther, N. Picard, S. Wiser, M. Zhou, G. Alberti, E.-D. Schulze, A. D. McGuire, F. Bozzato, H. Pretzsch, S. de-Miguel, A. Paquette, B. Hérault, M. Scherer-Lorenzen, C. B. Barrett, H. B. Glick, G. M. Hengeveld, G.-J. Nabuurs, S. Pfautsch, H. Viana, A. C. Vibrans, C. Ammer, P. Schall, D. Verbyla, N. Tchebakova, M. Fischer, J. V. Watson, H. Y. H. Chen, X. Lei, M.-J. Schelhaas, H. Lu, D. Gianelle, E. I. Parfenova, C. Salas, E. Lee, B. Lee, H. S. Kim, H. Bruelheide, D. A. Coomes, D. Piotto, T. Sunderland, B. Schmid, S. Gourlet-Fleury, B. Sonké, R. Tavani, J. Zhu, S. Brandl, J. Vayreda, F. Kitahara, E. B. Searle, V. J. Neldner, M. R. Ngugi, C. Baraloto, L. Frizzera, R. Bałazy, J. Oleksyn, T. Zawiła-Niedźwiecki, O. Bouriaud, F. Bussotti, L. Finér, B. Jaroszewicz, T. Jucker, F. Valladares, A. M. Jagodzinski, P. L. Peri, C. Gonmadje, W. Marthy, T. O’Brien, E. H. Martin, A. R. Marshall, F. Rovero, R. Bitariho, P. A. Niklaus, P. Alvarez-Loayza, N. Chamuya, R. Valencia, F. Mortier, V. Wortel, N. L. Engone-Obiang, L. V. Ferreira, D. E. Odeke, R. M. Vasquez, S. L. Lewis, and P. B. Reich. 2016. Positive biodiversity-productivity relationship predominant in global forests. Science 354.
Details and downloads

Liang J, Zhou M, Tobin PC, McGuire AD, & Reich PB (2015) Biodiversity influences plant productivity through niche-efficiency. PNAS 112(18):5738-5743.
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​Liang, J. (2012) Mapping large-scale forest dynamics: a geospatial approach. Landscape Ecology 27(8): 1091-1108.
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