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Eric Casella

PhD

Home Staff Eric Casella

Dr Casella’s research focuses on the functional relations between plant structure and physiological activity, mainly based on computed virtual 3-D plant mock-ups from empirical and digitized techniques; coupled to physical and biogeochemical process-based models. In particular, Dr Casella is interested in how we can model this interaction and how we can exploit the models to quantify and understand water and carbon dioxide fluxes and energy and carbon balances of forest ecosystems under actual and future climate scenarios.

Dr Casella plays a key role in the coordination of an international Research & Development group of scientists focused on the development of novel mathematical methods for extracting forest canopy structural and functional components from terrestrial LiDAR point-cloud data. Outputs from this project underpin non-destructive 3-D forest mock-up reconstructions, carbon stock assessments and modelling of carbon dynamics with unprecedented levels of detail and accuracy. Dr Casella’s research also aims to provide novel methods of data collection and post-processing tools, such as National Forest Inventories (NFI) and monitoring systems, in order to produce more accurate, harmonised and timely information that can be fed into national and international forest information systems.

Dr Eric Casella joined Forest Research in 2000 with a background in plant ecophysiology and computer sciences. He was awarded an MSc in Forest Science from Henri Poincaré University, France and, a PhD in plant growth and productivity from Blaise Pascal University, France where his research focused on long-term effects of climate change on temperate grass sward ecosystems. He worked as post-doctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp, Belgium before being granted a Marie Curie EU Fellowship on functional relations between environmental variables, 3-D plant structure and yield for the bioenergy sector.

Affiliations

Editor – Forests (IF: 3.282) – Section: Forest Inventory, Modelling and Remote Sensing

Editor – Remote Sensing (IF: 5.349) – Section: Forest Remote Sensing

Leading PhD and Postdoc research projects in the fields of Forest Ecology and Remote Sensing, particularly via networking activities across UK and Europe (e.g. BIFoRInverse ProblemsIGG-iCube)

Have served on the 2011-20 Review Board of Frontiers in Plant Science and on the 2014-17 Advisory Board of Global Change Biology Bioenergy

Have served as a Member of the Scientific Committee of FSPMA (Functional-Structural Plant Growth Modelling, Simulation, Visualization and Applications)

Project Manager
Mensuration, growth and yield

Forest Research

Alice Holt Lodge

Farnham

Surrey GU10 4LH

UK

,

Other Research

S&IS Programme 4: Resource assessment and sector monitoring

Lead R&D activities on LiDAR based methods to produce non-destructively and timely harmonised data on forest and woodland resources that can be fed into forest information systems (NFI).

DEFRA – Carbon in trees outside woodlands

Lead R&D activities on LiDAR based methods to produce non-destructively and timely data on the structure and dimensions of individual or clusters of trees outside woodlands.

EIP Wales: Carbon Neutral Farming, assessing opportunities and challenges

Lead R&D activities on LiDAR based methods to assess non-destructively and timely carbon stocks and stock changes in hedgerows.

SimPFI: A Simulator for Planning TLS-based Forest Inventories

Lead the development of a LiDAR simulator for realistic 3D point cloud computations from virtual forest stands to recommend optimal survey plans by considering effects of signal occlusion levels on tree volume estimates

Peer reviewed journal articles

Selected publications

Wang, D.; Puttonen, E.; Casella, E. (2022)  PlantMove: A tool for quantifying motion fields of plant movements from point cloud time series. International Journal of Applied Earth Observations and Geoinformation.

Wang, D.; Momo Takoudjou, S.; Casella, E. (2020) LeWoS: A Universal Leaf-wood Classification Method to Facilitate the 3D Modelling of Large Tropical Trees Using Terrestrial LiDAR. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 11, 376-389.

Raumonen, P.; Casella, E.; Calder, K.; Murphy, S.; Åkerblom, M. and Kaasalainen, M. (2015) Massive-scale tree modelling from TLS data. ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences 3, 189-196.

Åkerblom, M.; Raumonen, P.; Kaasalainen, M. and Casella, E. (2015) Analysis of geometric primitives in quantitative structure models of tree stems. Remote Sensing 7, 4581-4603.

Casella, E. and Sinoquet, H. (2003) A method for describing the canopy architecture of coppice poplar with allometric relationships. Tree Physiology 23, 1153-1169.

Media

France●tv distribution – ‘Le génie des arbres’ (May 2020). In this documentary, scientific evidences highlight the vital role of trees and reveal their superpowers from the molecular to planetary scales. An animation computer-generated from our terrestrial laser scanning data recorded in 2018 at the BIFoR FACE experimental facilities.

Collecting data on woodland and forest resources non-destructively with Terrestrial Laser Scanners (March 2018). This animation was computer-generated from our terrestrial laser scanning data recorded in 2016 at our Alice Holt/Straits experimental woodland.

BBC – ‘Oak Tree: Nature’s Greatest Survivor’. Parts one and two (September 2015). This science and natural history programme reports the dramatic life of an oak tree, a species that makes extraordinary transformations as it meets the challenges of the four seasons. Animations computer-generated from our terrestrial laser scanning data recorded in summer 2014 and winter 2015 at the Wytham Woods.

Example of peer-reviewed journal articles

Akerblom, M.; Raumonen, P.; Casella, E.; Disney, M.; Danson, F.M.; Gaulton, R.; Schofield, L.A.; and Kaasalainen, M. (2018) Non-Intersecting Leaf Insertion Algorithm for Tree Structure Models. Interface Focus 8: 20170045.

Pinnington, E.M.; Casella, E.; Dance, S.; Lawless, A.; Morison, J.; Nichols, N.; Wilkinson, M. and Quaife, T. (2017) Understanding the effect of disturbance from selective felling on the carbon dynamics of a managed woodland by combining observations with model predictions. JRB-Biogeosciences 122, 886–902.

Pinnington, E.M.; Casella, E.; Dance, S.; Lawless, A.; Morison, J.; Nichols, N.; Wilkinson, M. and Quaife, T. (2016) Investigating the role of prior and observation error correlations in improving a model forecast of forest carbon balance using four dimensional variational data assimilation. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 228, 299-314.

Hetroy-Wheeler, F.; Casella, E. and Boltcheva, D. (2016) Segmentation of tree seedling point clouds into elementary units. International Journal of Remote Sensing 37, 2881-2907.

Richards, M.; Pogson, M.; Dondini, M.; Jones, E.O.; Hastings, A.; Henner, D.N.; Tallis, M.J.; Casella, E.; Matthews, R.W.; Henshall, P.A.; Milner, S.; Taylor, G.; McNamara, N.P.; Smith, J.U. and Smith, P. (2017) High resolution spatial modelling of greenhouse gas emissions from land use change to energy crops in the UK. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 9, 627-644.

Hastings, A.; Tallis, M.J.; Casella, E.; Matthews, R.; Henshall, P.; Milner, S.; Smith, P. and Taylor, G. (2014) The technical potential of Great Britain to produce ligno-cellulosic biomass for bioenergy in current and future climates. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 6, 108-122.

Wang, S.; Hastings, A.; Wang, S.C.; Sunnenberg, G.; Tallis, M.; Casella, E.; Taylor, S.; Wang, C.; Alexander, P.; Cisowska, I.; Lovett, A.; Taylor, G.; Firth, S.; Finch, J.; Moran, D.; Morison, J. and Smith, P. (2014) The potential for bioenergy crops to contribute to meeting GB heat and electricity demands. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 6, 136-141.

Alexander, P.; Moran, D.; Smith, P.; Hastings, A.; Wang, S.; Sunnenberg, G.; Lovett, A.; Tallis, M.; Casella, E.; Taylor, G.; Finch, J. and Cisowska, I. (2014) Estimating UK perennial energy crop supply using farm scale models with spatially disaggregated data. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 6, 142-155.

Balandier, P.; Marquier, A.; Casella, E.; Kiewitt, A.; Coll, L.; Werlhen, L. and Harmer, R. (2013) Architecture, cover and light interception by bramble (Rubus fruticosus), a common understorey weed in temperate forests. Forestry 86, 39-46.

Tallis, M.; Casella, E.; Henshall, P.; Aylott, M.; Randle, T.; Morison, J.I.L. and Taylor, G. (2013) Development and evaluation of ForestGrowth-SRC a process-based model for short rotation coppice yield and spatial supply reveals poplar uses water more efficiently than willow. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 5, 53-66.

Heinemeyer, A.; Wilkinson, M.; Vargas, R.; Subke, J.-A.; Casella, E.; Morison, J.I.L. and Ineson, P. (2012) Exploring the “overflow tap” theory: linking forest soil CO2 fluxes and individual mycorrhizosphere components to photosynthesis. Biogeosciences 9, 79-95.

Aylott, M.J.; Casella, E.; Farrall, K. and Taylor, G. (2010) Estimating the supply of biomass from short rotation coppice in England, given social, economic and environmental constraints to land availability. Biofuels 1, 719-727.

Bauen, A.W.; Dunnett, A.J.; Richter, G.M.; Dailey, A.G.; Aylott, M.; Casella, E. and Taylor, G. (2010) Modelling supply and demand of bioenergy from short rotation coppice and miscanthus in the UK. Bioresource Technology 101, 8132-8143.

Hillier, J.; Whittaker, C.; Dailey, G.; Aylott, M.; Casella, E.; Richter, G.M.; Riche, A.; Murphy, R.; Taylor, G. and Smith, P. (2009) Greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy crops in England and Wales: Integrating spatial estimates of yield and soil C in life cycle analyses. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 1, 267-281.

Aylott, M.J.; Casella, E.; Tubby, I.; Street, N.R.; Smith, P. and Taylor, G. (2008) Yield and spatial supply of bioenergy poplar and willow short-rotation coppice in the UK. New Phytologist 178, 358-370.

Cochard, H.; Casella, E. and Mencuccini, M. (2007) Xylem vulnerability to cavitation varies among poplar and willow clones and correlates negatively with yield. Tree Physiology 27, 1761-1767.

Casella, E. and Sinoquet, H. (2007) Botanical determinants of foliage clumping and light interception in two-year-old coppice poplar canopies: assessment from 3-D plant mock-ups. Annals of Forest Science 64, 395-404.

Soussana, J.F.; Teyssonneyre, F.; Picon-Cochard, C.; Casella, E.; Besle, J.M.; Lherm, M. and Loiseau, P. (2002) Effects of climatic and atmospheric changes on grasslands and their production. Fourrages 169, 3-24.

Casella, E. and Ceulemans, R. (2002) Spatial distribution of leaf morphological and physiological characteristics in relation to local radiation regime within 3-year-old Populus clones under coppice culture. Tree Physiology 22, 1277-1288.

Casella, E. and Soussana, J.F. (1997) Long-term effects of CO2 enrichment and temperature increase on the carbon balance of a temperate grass sward. Journal of Experimental Botany 48, 1309-1321.

Casella, E.; Soussana, J.F. and Loiseau, P. (1996) Long-term effects of CO2 enrichment and temperature increase on a temperate grass sward. I. Productivity and water use. Plant and Soil 182, 83-99.

Soussana, J.F.; Casella, E. and Loiseau, P. (1996) Long-term effects of CO2 enrichment and temperature increase on a temperate grass sward. II. Plant nitrogen budgets and root fraction. Plant and Soil 182, 101-114.

Example of scientific conferences

Casella, E., Raumonen, P., Åkerblom, M. (2020) Sensing the growth of oak trees from an eight-year TLS survey period. 3D Tree Models for Forest Dynamics – 9-10 January 2020 Helsinki, Finland.

Casella, E., Rombourg, R., Raumonen, P., Hetroy-Wheeler, F., Åkerblom, M. (2020) Sensitivity analysis of an automated processing chain and uncertainty in the prediction of tree above ground biomass from TLS data. 3D Tree Models for Forest Dynamics – 9-10 January 2020 Helsinki, Finland.

Casella, E. (2020) Quantifying long-term effects of free-air CO2 enrichment on the growth of temperate woodlands from terrestrial laser scans. BIFoR Annual Meeting, 29-30 January 2020 University of Birmingham, UK.

Bouriaud, O., Casella, E., Freudenschuss, A., Gschwantner, T., Hervé, J.C., Kändler, G., Klatt. S., Marin, G., Miloš, K., Nord-Larsen, T., Riedel, T., Saint-André, L. and Vonderach, C. (2017) Pan-European harmonised biomass equation for the most frequent forest species. IUFRO – 125th Anniversary Congress, A joint session of the European National Forest Inventory Network (ENFIN) and the Horizon 2020 project DIABOLO, Freiburg, Germany, September 2017.

Casella, E., Raumonen, P., Rombourg, R., Hetroy-Weeler, F. and McKay, H. (2016) A comprehensive sensitivity analysis of forest tree mock-up reconstruction methods from phase-shift based LiDAR point-cloud data. International Conference on Functional-Structural Plant Growth Modeling, Simulation, Visualization and Applications, FSPMA, Qingdao, China, November 2016.

Rombourg, R., Casella, E., Hetroy-Weeler, F. and McKay, H. (2016) An alternative set of filtering and correction methods for phase-shift based tLiDAR scanners in measuring forest vegetation structures. International Conference on Functional-Structural Plant Growth Modeling, Simulation, Visualization and Applications, Qingdao, China, November 2016.

Pinnington, E., Casella, E., Dance, S., Lawless, A., Morison, J., Nichols, N., Wilkinson, M. and Quaife, T. (2016) Investigating the role of background and observation error correlations in improving a model forecast of forest carbon balance using four dimensional variational data assimilation. European Geosciences Union, Vienna, April 2016.

Raumonen P., Casella E., Calder K., Murphy S., Åkerblom M., Kaasalainen M. (2015) Massive-scale tree modelling from TLS data. Joined conference on PIA15 Photogrammetric Image Analysis – HRIGI15 High-Resolution Earth Imaging for Geospatial Information Conference. , 25-27 March 2015, Munich, Germany.

Casella E., Raumonen P., Åkerblom M., Morison J., Disney M., Kaasalainen M. and McKay H. (2013) Forest canopy metrics and carbon stock estimates from 3-D terrestrial LiDAR data. Atelier T-LiDAR pour la communauté francophone – Quatrième Edition, 8 Octobre 2013, Marseille, France.

Casella E.,  Disney M.,  Morison J. and McKay H. (2013) tLiDAR methodologies can overcome limitations in estimating forest canopy LAI from conventional hemispherical photograph analyses. 7th International Conference on Functional-Structural Plant Models, FSPM, Saariselkä, Finland, June 2013.

Boltcheva D., Casella E., Cumont R. and Hétroy F. (2013) A spectral clustering approach of vegetation components for describing plant topology and geometry from terrestrial LiDAR data. 7th International Conference on Functional-Structural Plant Models, FSPM, Saariselkä, Finland, June 2013.

Raumonen P., Casella E., Disney M., Åkerblom M. and Kaasalainen M. (2013) Fast automatic method for constructing topologically and geometrically precise tree models from TLS data. 7th International Conference on Functional-Structural Plant Models, FSPM, Saariselkä, Finland, June 2013.

Cade S., Clemitshaw K., Lowry D., Yamulki S., Casella E., Molina S., Haas E. and Kiese R. (2013). LandscapeDNDC used to model nitrous oxide emissions from soil under an oak forest in southern England. European Geosciences Union, Vienna, Austria, April 2013.

Wilkinson M., Eaton E., Casella E., Crow P. and Morison J. (2013). Effects of management thinning on carbon dioxide uptake by a plantation oak woodland in SE England. European Geosciences Union, Vienna, Austria, April 2013.

Pete Smith P., Lovett A., Finch J., Moran D., Taylor G., Casella E., Taylor S., Firth S., Wang S., Alexander P., Wang C., Hastings A., Tallis M., Sunnenberg G., Hillier J., Allinson D., Quddus M., Morison J. and Cisowska I. (2013). Spatial Mapping and Evaluation of Energy Crop Distribution in Great Britain to 2050. UK Energy Research Centre, February 2013.

Casella E., Morison J.I.L., Disney M., Danson M. & McKay H. (2012) Estimating forest canopy structure from terrestrial laser scanner measurements: a case study with a 670 nm wavelength laser beam. Knowledge Exchange Workshop on Terrestrial Laser Scanning, University of Leicester, UK.

Casella E. (2012). Estimating forest gap fraction from terrestrial laser scanning. Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Casella E., Matthews R. et al. (2011) An ecological site classification for SRF yield computation under actual and future UK climatic condition. UKERC Spatial Mapping and Evaluation of Energy Crop Distribution in Great Britain to 2050.

Casella E. (2011). Estimating forest gap fraction from terrestrial laser scanning, case study with a 670 nm wavelength laser beam. Remote Sensing and Environmental Mapping Seminars 2011-12, Department of Geography, UCL, London, UK.

Balandier P., Marquier A., Casella E., Kiewitt A., Coll L., Wehrlen L. & Harmer R. (2011). Architecture, cover and light interception by a common understorey weed (Rubus fructicosus) in temperate forests. Forest Vegetation Management Conference, Valdivia, Chile.

Wilkinson M., Casella E., Crow P. & Morison J.I.L. (2011). Effects of management thinning on CO2 uptake by a plantation oak woodland in SE England. CarboForest Conference, Sekocin Stary, Poland.

Cumont R., Boltcheva D., Hetroy F. & Casella E. (2011) Spectral clustering of tree branches and leaves from terrestrial point cloud laser scans. PlantScan3D, Agropolis Foundation Network workshop, INRIA, Montpellier, France.

Casella E. (2010) Introduction to Terrestrial Laser Scanning. Seminar FC/FR. Forest Research, Alice Holt, UK.

Casella E., Morison J.I.L. & McKay H. (2010). Modelling forest canopy gap fraction from terrestrial laser scanning: trade-off between speed and quality. Mathematical Modelling of Plant Development workshop, Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State University, USA.