Jim Mcadam

Jim McAdam

BSc, BAgr, MAgr, PhD, FRAgS, OBE

Agroforester, Ecologist

Belfast, N. Ireland



Retired (2018) after 40 years in agricultural and environmental research in the Government sector in Northern Ireland (with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute - AFBI )and Queen’s University Belfast. Now act as a consultant using my considerable expertise and experience in a range of roles based on my research career and wider interests.

Research Career

Sustainable management of upland and peatland ecosystems

Much of my early research (1976-79) was based on managing vegetation for agriculture and wildlife on the peatland soils of the Falkland Islands. In Northern Ireland I conducted research on management of peatland and upland grasslands for ecosystem services delivery on hill farms. I was a founder member, and still sit on, the board of the Glenwherry Hill Regeneration Partnership, a project which aims to deliver multiple objectives for an extensive upland area underpinned by appropriate science and monitoring. Currently I act as an Environmental Farming Scheme facilitator for Ulster Wildlife in delivering a farmer-based environmental support group.

I have been involved in agricultural and environmental research in the Falkland Islands since 1976. From 2013-2016, I was involved in a project researching the impact of potential climate change on the Island’s terrestrial ecosystems. This project highlighted the risks faced in the Falklands and the need for a peatland distribution map to help sustainably manage the soil resource to prevent carbon loss. I subsequently actively participated in a project to complete an online peat and soil map for the Falklands.

Management prescriptions and monitoring for Agri-environment schemes

Over my research career I: conducted and supervised research into grassland management options within agri-environment systems, managed and directed Agri-Environment scheme monitoring (for DARD), was Consultant to AGBIOTA, a 4 year EPA funded agri-environment monitoring project in Ireland.

Agroforestry systems

I was responsible for the agroforestry research programme in NI from 1988 until 2018. I am a Committee member (previously chairman, Farm Woodland Forum), representative (for N&S Ireland) on the European Agroforestry Federation and am involved in the wider promotion of agroforestry on farms throughout Ireland.

Much of my research career has focused on areas which are now seen as highly relevant to helping government meet its climate change and biodiversity obligations.

Editorships of Journals

  • Falkland Islands Journal (Editor since 1991)
  • Biology and Environment - Royal Irish Academy (Editorial Board)
  • Anales Institute of Patagonia (Editorial Board)
  • Nimrod (Editorial Board)

Societal/community Involvement

  • Chair, Agricultural History Society of Ireland
  • Friends of the Falkland Islands Museum and National Archives - Committee Member
  • The Hakluyt Society - International Representative, Ireland
  • Falklands Conservation - Member (previously Trustee)
  • Falkland Islands Trust – Consultant (since 1983)
  • Shackleton Scholarship Fund – Academic Awards Committee
  • Associate Ulster Wildlife Trust- Associate and Volunteer

I was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to research and agriculture in the Falkland Islands.

Recent Invited Lectures

  • Korean Grassland Society. Invited lecture: A sustainable grassland intensification strategy. January 2018.
  • South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute, Stanley, Falkland Islands. Public Lecture Series: The Risk to Soils in the Falkland Islands from Climate Change. February 2018.
  • Jim McAdam (2018) Conor OBrien, Irish Patriot, Sailor and Adventurer. Lecture delivered at the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School 27th Oct 2018.
  • Cork Literary & Scientific Society. Invited lecture : Conor O’Brien ( 1880-1952) Patriot, Yachtsman and Author. March 2019.
  • Invited lecture in the Falkland Islands Historic Dockyard Museum Public Lecture Series. Conor OBrien and the Ilen. 23 rd Jan 2019.
  • UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science. Research Seminar Series: Agroforestry as a sustainable land use in Ireland 27th Nov 2019.
  • Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Frank Mitchell Memorial Lecture. The Condition and Protection of Ancient Monuments in the Irish Farmed Landscape. Dublin, October, 2019.
  • South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute, Stanley, Falkland Islands. Public Lecture Series: The Risk to Soils in the Falkland Islands from Climate Change. Stanley, Falkland Islands February 2019
  • Invited to present at a high policy level EU Carbon Farming Roundtable (DG CLIMA) on basis of outputs from QUB/AFBI agroforestry research record. September 2020. Evidence base for agroforestry and potential carbon-neutral livestock systems: a 30-years replicated trial comparing grassland, silvopastoral and woodland systems in Northern Ireland.
  • BIOFARM 2020. Irelands’s Biological Farming Conference Nov 2020. Invited keynote paper. Agroforestry-the Benefits of Trees on Farms in Ireland.
  • Keynote Paper in the Agro-silvopastoral Session of the 1 st International Symposium on Climate-Resilient Agri-Environmental Systems (ISCARES 2020) held in Dublin (virtually) in November 2020. The potential of Agro-Silvo-Pastoral systems to address climate resilience and mitigation.
  • Invited lecture in the Falkland Islands Historic Dockyard Museum Public Lecture Series. The Ilen sails again. March 2020.
  • Presented The Annual Augustine Henry Forestry Lecture “Agroforestry - trees on farms and carbon neutral livestock systems”.

Major Research Projects

Although retired from AFBI (in Oct 2018) I still participate in the following projects (under the auspices of my QUB Hon title)
  • Participated in EU-BEST project for UK Government Overseas Territories - “The impact of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems services in the Falkland Islands”
  • Full partner in a major FP7 EU project (AGFORWARD) to investigate the wider role of agroforestry systems in rural development. 2014-2017
  • I was Agricultural Advisor to a Darwin-Plus UK government award (for Overseas Territories) project to map the distribution and properties of soils on the Falkland Islands. 2018-2020.
  • I am a Group Facilitator for Ulster Wildlife in the DAERA-funded Environmental Farming Scheme in the Carn/Glenshane area, NI.

Significant Publications

Since 2000:
  • McAdam J.H. (2000) Environmental impact of agroforestry systems. Agroforestry in the UK. For Comm Res Bull 122:82–89
  • Sibbald A.R., Eason W.R., McAdam J.H., Hislop A.M. (2001) The establishment phase of a silvopastoral national network experiment in the UK. Agroforest Syst 53(1):39–53
  • McAdam J., McEvoy P.M. (2009). The potential for silvopastoralism to enhance biodiversity on grassland farms in Ireland. In: Rigueiro-Rodríguez A, McAdam J, Mosquera-Losada MR (eds) Agroforestry in Europe: current status and future prospects.Springer. pp 343–358
  • Mosquera-Losada M.R., Moreno G., Pardini A., McAdam J.H. et al (2012) Past, Present and Future of Agroforestry Systems in Europe In PKR Nair and D Garrity (eds.), Agroforestry - The Future of Global Land Use, Advances in Agroforestry 9; 285-312
  • Broughton, D. McAdam, J.H. and Brannstrom, R. (2000) A combined checklist and ecographic conspectus for the vascular flora of Saunders Island, Falkland (Malvinas) Islands. Anales Instituto Patagonia. Serie Cs. Nat. (Chile) 28, 57-88.
  • McAdam, J.H., Kerr, J.A., Fisher, G.J. and Tallowin, J.R.B. (2001). Management for biodiversity in Grassland Farming Systems. Proceedings No 485 International Fertiliser Society, pp 1-27.
  • Wilson, F.E.A., Harvey, B.M.R., McAdam, J.H. Walton, D.W.H. (2001). The response of Whitegrass (Cortaderia pilosa (D’Urv.) Hack to nitrogen nutrition. Grass and Forage Science, 56 (1), 84-91.
  • Broughton, D.A. & McAdam, J.H. (2002). A preliminary red data list for the Falkland Islands vascular flora. Oryx, The International Journal of Conservation, 36(3), 1-10.
  • Broughton, D.A. and McAdam, J.H. (2002). The Non-native vascular flora of the Falkland Islands. Botanical Journal of Scotland 54 (2) 153-190.
  • McEvoy, P.M. & McAdam, J.H. (2002). Coppice management and biodiversity enhancement. An investigation in Glenarm woods Co. Antrim. Irish Journal of Agri-environmental Research (2) 39-52.
  • BROUGHTON, D.A., McADAM, J.H. (2003). The current status and distribution of the Falkland Islands pteridophyte flora. The Fern Gazette, 17(1), 19-36.
  • Cameron, A. Flexen, M., Johnston, R.J. & McAdam, J. (2003). Biological monitoring of the Chough option in the Antrim Coast, Glens and Rathlin, Environmentally Sensitive Area. Irish Journal of Agri- environmental Research, 3, 57-66.
  • Broughton, D.A. & McAdam, J.H. (2005). A checklist of the native vascular flora of the Falkland Islands: New information on the species present, their ecology, status and distribution. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 132 (1), 115-148.
  • Dahlin, A.S., Emanuelsson, U. & McAdam, J.H. (2005). Nutrient management in low input grazing- based systems of meat production. Soil Use and Management 21, 1 2006).
  • McEvoy,P.M. Flexen, M. &,McAdam,J.H.(2006) the effects of livestock grazing on ground flora in broadleaved woodlands in Northern Ireland. Forest Ecology and Management, 225:39-50
  • McAdam,J.H. ,McEvoy, P.M. Flexen, M. & Hoppe, G.M.(2006) Biodiversity monitoring and policy support in Northern Ireland. Irish Journal of Agri-Environment Research, 4:51-58
  • McEvoy, P.M., Flexen, M. & McAdam, J.H. (2006) The Environmentally Sensitive Area Scheme in Northern Ireland: Ten years of agri-environment monitoring. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 106B(2):1-11.
  • McAdam,J.H.,Sibbald, A.R.,Teklehaimanot, Z & Eason, W.R.(2007) Developing silvopastoral systems and their effects on diversity of fauna. Agroforestry Systems. 70(1) 81-89.
  • Kerr, J. A. & McAdam J. H. ( 2008) Characteristics of patches of short grasses and herbs in the Falkland Islands and their management for sheep grazing. Anales Instituto Patagonia. (Chile) 36(1), 5-24.
  • McAdam, J.H. And McEvoy, P.M. (2009). The potential for Silvopastoralism to enhance biodiversity on grassland farms in Ireland. Advances in Agroforestry, 6:343-358.
  • McAdam, J.H., Burgess, P.J., Graves, A., Riguerio-Rodriguez, A. And Mosquera-Losada, M.R. (2009). Classification and functions of Agroforestry systems in Europe. Advances in Agroforestry, 6:21-42.
  • Mosquera-Losada, M.R., McAdam, J.H., Romero-Franco, R., Santiago-Freijantes, J.J. And Riguerio- Rodriguez, A. (2009). Definitions and components of Agroforestry practices in Europe. Advances in Agroforestry, 6:3-20.
  • Riguerio-Rodriguez, A., Fernandez-Nunez, P., Gonzalez-Hernandez, P., McAdam, J.H. And Mosquera-Losada, M.R. (2009). Agroforestry systems in Europe.; Productive, Ecological and Social perspectives. Advances in Agroforestry, 6:43-66.
  • McAdam, J.H. and Broughton, D. (2011) The current status of and threats to the vascular flora of the Falkland Islands, South Atlantic. Anales Instituto Patagonia (Chile) 39(1) : 87-92
  • Flexen, M., O'Mahony, D., McAdam, J. H. (2013). Monitoring of farmland biodiversity indicators in Northern Ireland. Aspects of Applied Biology 118.
  • McAdam, J.H. (2015). Silvopasture as a sustainable rewilding option for managed grassland. Managing Landscape Change and Future Ecologies Conference, University of Sheffield, September 2015 pp 20-25
  • McAdam J H (2016) Grassland research in Northern Ireland since the 1940s : some new insights. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne. Chap 11
  • Upson, R., Williams, J., Wilkinson, T., Clubbe, C., Maclean, I., McAdam, J.H (2017) Potential impact of climatic change on native plant distributions in the Falkland Islands. Plos One (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0167026)
  • Fornara, D., Olave, R., Burgess, P., Delmer, A., Upson, M., McAdam, J.H. (2017) Land use change and soil carbon pools: evidence from a long-term silvopastoral experiment. Agroforestry Systems.
  • Garcia de Jalon, J., Burgess, P. McAdam J.H. et al (2017) How is agroforestry perceived in Europe? An assessment of positive and negative aspects among stakeholders. Agroforestry Systems.
  • McAdam J. (2020) Agricultural Education in Twentieth Century Ireland with particular reference to Northern Ireland. To be published in The effect of partition on rural Ireland. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • McAdam J (submitted to Irish Forestry) The potential for agroforestry in Ireland.