Philip James

  • Professor of Ecology - University of Salford

Research interests

At the University of Salford I developed a research programme that led to the establishment of Ecological Networks in the UK and Italy. Using this as a basis, I worked to expand those ideas into urban areas which led to the creation of the Greater Manchester Ecological Framework. These landscape-scale approaches were forerunners to what is now called ‘the Ecosystem Approach’ and my research has developed to incorporate studies of ecosystem services that are delivered by diverse habitats (salt marsh, brownfield sites, Sustainable Drainage Systems, woodlands, meadows, and lakes and ponds).

My research is also used in the development of landscape-scale conservation and environment improvement interventions in, for example, the River Irwell Catchment (777 km2), the Great Manchester Wetlands Partnership (400 km2) and the Upper Mersey Estuary (1.7 km2). In a new project with the Royal Horticultural Society, Lancashire Wildlife Trust and United Utilities, we are exploring the contributions made by small areas of land – private gardens, office grounds and the like – to the natural capital of cities. What links all of these is the concept of systems – a concept central to ecology and one that can be used in my work to understand many twenty-first-century ecological challenges.

My work informs national and international policy through my involvement with the Local Nature Partnership for Greater Manchester, Defra’s Urban Pioneer Programme, and leading the research committee of an environmental charity.