- Fellowship in 1986 at the University of Alberta
Professor Jim obtained his BA degree with First Class Honours in geography and geology from the University of Hong Kong, and PhD in agricultural soil science from the University of Reading (UK) under the aegis of a Commonwealth Scholarship. He then studied at the US Geological Survey in Golden (Colorado School of Mines) for a Certificate in Hydrology. He is the Chair Professor in Geography since 2000 and Master of Robert Black College at the University of Hong Kong; he served in the past as Head of Department of Geography and Dean of Faculty of Arts.
His research revolves around the core theme of nature-in-city, encompassing urban ecology, urban forestry, urban green infrastructure, urban green space, urban soil science, green roof, green wall (vertical greening), natural and artificial turfs, urban biodiversity, and urban nature conservation. Adopting the multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary (MIT) approach with an emphasis on compact and south cities, he focuses geographically on Hong Kong and other Chinese cities.
Thus far he has accumulated 35 years of teaching and research experience, covering both conceptual and applied domains. He has published nearly 300 scientific papers and books, and is recognized internationally as a leading researcher, educator and advocate in understanding, conserving, creating and refining nature in cities. He is serving on the editorial boards of six reputable international journals. His contributions to knowledge and scholarship has been recognized by the L.C. Chadwick Award for Distinction in Arboricultural Research by the International Society of Arboriculture.
Besides scholarly work, Professor Jim is active in community services, taking up chairmanship and membership of government advisory bodies and NGOs. Contributing actively to knowledge exchange, he has extended his research findings to promoting and improving urban greening especially under the shadow of high-density urbanization.
L.C. Chadwick Award, International Society of Arboriculture, for research distinction
Top 1% Scholar of the world, according to Thomson Reuter's Essential Science Indicators
Most cited scholar of the world in the field of urban greening, based on ISI Web of Science
Leader of Urban Ecology Research Group
Researcher, Teacher and Advocate of Nature-in-City, including urban ecology, urban green infrastructure, urban forest, urban park, green roof, green wall, urban turf, urban soil, climate-change adaptation, and urban nature conservation
Main research thrust
- My core research interest lies in urban ecology, interfacing with urban forestry, urban green spaces, green roof, vertical greening (green wall), urban design and landscape planning, soil science, and environmental impacts of recreation and tourism, with a geographical focus on Hong Kong and the south China region.
- My research orbit is distinctly interdisciplinary, as exemplified by the wide range of journals that have published my research findings, encompassing the disciplines of geography, forestry, arboriculture, ecology, urban planning, soil science, earth science, environmental engineering, nature conservation and environmental management.
Urban ecology and urban forestry
- Impacts of urbanization on tree species composition and diversity
- Ecological functions and environmental benefits of urban trees
- Species evaluation and selection for urban planting in humid-tropical cities
- Ecology and management of champion-heritage trees and trees on old stone walls
- Environmental benefits, energy conservation and ecology of green roofs and vertical greening
- Statutory aspects of urban tree planting, management and protection
- Concepts and techniques of transplanting large specimen trees
- Economic valuation of ecosystem services of urban vegetation and green spaces
- Leisure and recreational use of urban green spaces
Urban soil science
- Soil structural degradation, compaction and porosity variations
- Soil moisture and temperature variability in different urban habitats
- Soil nutrient availability and heavy metal pollution in different urban habitats
- Soil and site design and amelioration for urban landscape planting
Urban impingement on countryside
- Recreational trampling and camping impacts on soil and vegetation
- Environmental impacts of tourism and recreation
- Ecotourism development and visitor management in recreational areas
- Environmental problems associated with non-conforming land uses in rural areas