James Hammond



Room Details


MSc Environmental Susatainability
BA (Hons) Anthropology

PhD Title

Fit-for-purpose site characterisation tools: improving  social research methods in agricultural development


Fergus Sinclair, Tim Pagella, Mark van Wijk, Rhett Harrison

Research overview

There are many examples in sustainable development of innovations which seem promising to scientists but are surprisingly not taken up by the intended users.

'Site characterisation' is commonly carried out to try and understand the local context in a specific site, so that innovations can be tuned to the needs and wants of the intended audience, and therefore achieve a higher rate of adoption.

'Household surveys' are the most commonly used tool in site characterisation and yield data which is amenable to statistical analysis. Many surveys however are unwieldy in terms of the time and effort required to gather, record, and then analyse that data. Part of my PhD will be oriented around constructing a focused, easy to use and time efficient survey tool for site characterisation.

'Participatory methods' is cover-all name for any research methods that engage directly with people and attempt to use their expertise and knowledge to gather information. In addition to gathering information, this approach has the benefit of building relationships between everybody involved - relationships which can be very usfeul when releasing an innovation into a new site.  Another part of my PhD will focus on integrating participatory methods with my rapid survey tool.

Most of my work will be carried out in Gautemala, in the border area with El Salvador and Honduras which is called Trifinio. The rural people there are generally very poor, and suffer from food insecurity and malnutrition for 4 months or more per year. The situation has got worse for those people during the past two years as very little rain has fallen, which is probably due to human induced climate change.


  • Thornley, P., Gilbert, P., Shackley, S., & Hammond, J. (2015). Maximizing the greenhouse gas reductions from biomass: The role of life cycle assessment. Biomass and Bioenergy, 81, 35–43.
  • Hiaying Yu, Jim Hammond, Shenghai Ling, Shuangxi Zhou, Peter Mortimer, Jianchu Xu (2014) Greater diurnal temperature difference, an overlooked but important climatic driver of rubber yield, Industrial Crops and Products, 62, 14-21.
  • Abbie Clare, Simon Shackley, Stephen Joseph, James Hammond, Genxing Pan, Anthony Bloom (2014) Competing uses for China's straw: the economic and carbon abatement potential of biochar, Global Change Biology Bioenergy, 1757-1707.
  • Simon Shackley, Rodrigo Ibarrola, Jim Hammond, Darren Hopkins (2013) Biochar Quality Mandate, available from www.britishbiocharfoundation.org/?p=1488
  • Jim Hammond, Simon Shackley, Miranda Prendergast-Miller, Jason Cook, Sarah Buckingham, Valentini Pappa (2013) Biochar Field Testing in the UK: Outcomes and Implications for Use, Carbon Management 4, (2).
  • Simon Shackley, Saran Sohi, Rodrigo Ibarrola, Jim Hammond, Ondrej Masek, Peter Brownsort, Andrew Cross, Miranda Prendergast-Miller, Stuart Haszeldine (2012) Biochar, Tool for Climate Change Mitigation and Soil Management in Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology, Meyers, Robert A. (Ed.), Springer.
  • Sohel Ahmed, Jim Hammond, Rodrigo barrola, Simon Shackley (2012) The potential role of biochar in combating climate change in Scotland:  An analysis of feedstocks, life cycle assessment and spatial dimensions, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 55, (4), 487-505.
  • Rodrigo Ibarrola; Simon Shackley; Jim Hammond (2012), Pyrolysis Biochar Systems for recovering biodegradable materials: a Life Cycle Carbon Assessment, Waste Management 32, 859-868.
  • Simon Shackley, Jim Hammond, John Gaunt and Rodrigo Ibarrola (2011), The feasibility and costs of biochar deployment in the UK, Carbon Management, 2(3): 335-356
  • Jim Hammond, Simon Shackley, Saran Sohi and Peter Brownsort (2011), Prospective life cycle carbon abatement for pyrolysis biochar systems in the UK, Energy Policy, 39(5): 2646-2655.
    Jim Hammond, Ibarrola R, Shackley S, Sohi S, Brownsort P, Thornley P, 2010. Chapter 8 Life Cycle Assessment in An Assessment of the Benefits and Issues Associated with the Application of Biochar to Soil, a report to DEFRA, S Shackley and S Sohi (eds.), pp75-94.
  • Hammond J, Shackley S, 2010. Towards a Public Communication and Engagement Strategy for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Projects in Scotland: A Review of Research Findings, CCS Project Experiences, Tools, Resources and Best Practices. Work package 4 of the Scottish Carbon Capture, Transport and Storage Development Study. 159pp.
  • Hammond J, 2009. The Best Use of Biomass? - Greenhouse Gas Life Cycle Analysis of Predicted Pyrolysis Biochar Systems. MSc Dissertation, University of Edinburgh. 138pp.


Research Fellow at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).


I hope that my research will be useful to solving real world problems. It would be fair to say I am more into the 'applied' side of research.
Before beginning my studies with Bangor University I was working in South West China for the World Agroforestry Centre, on farm characterisation and building networks to connect scientists, policy makers and farmers. Before that I was at Edinburgh University investigating carbon negative uses of biomass.

When not working I like to be outside, climbing mountains or sleeping in forests. I also like making and eating food, and dream one day to own some livestock.

You can view my research at either of the following two links: