Jim is a systems ecologist interested in system complexity, function and emergent properties - particularly resilience and how the principles learned from ecology can be applied to the “Five Capitals” of our socio-ecological system. Principally working in soil microbiology, restoration ecology and ecosystem service research focused on microbial ecology in relation to ecosystem processes. He has applied this particularly in the assessment and treatment of degraded systems, restoration ecology, quantitative assessment of ecosystem goods and services, and has pioneered work on catabolic profiling and the thermodynamics of soil microbial communities. This work has advanced our understanding of the effects of environmental and management practices on the soil microbial community, provided better tools for assessing ecosystem status, the effects of land management and importantly restoration programmes aimed at enhancing natural capital to achieve net environmental gain. The work has been funded by, NERC, BBSRC and EPSRC, local and central government, and industrial clients. His work on defining and assessing soil health via measurement of biological, physical and chemical properties has been widely adopted. He has worked extensively at national and international level in policy development: he has acted as Scientific Adviser to the UK Defra group at IPBES meetings in Colombia, Rome, and Bonn; a Lead Author in the IPBES Report on Land Degradation and Restoration; and past Chair of the International Society for Ecological Restoration.