KELLY, Georgina

Georgina Kelly

Research interests

  • The impact of recycled organics on long term soil carbon pools
  • Reuse of recycled organics for mine site rehabilitation
  • The role of soils in climate mitigation and adaptation options for the sector
  • Potential of dry land forestry for carbon sequestration
  • The impact of biosolids on growth and wood properties


Dr Kelly has been working in cross-sectoral, primary industry RD&E for the last three decades. She has demonstrated expertise in soils research, policies and programs, with a solid body of knowledge and practice built through her leadership of Agriculture NSW’s soils management R&D program, representing NSW DPI at high level state and national forums, and providing technical advice and strategic planning. Dr Kelly leads a team of over 60 staff in Agriculture NSW to find soils management options for primary that underpin productivity, profitability and sustainability.

Dr Kelly represents NSW DPI and Agriculture NSW on senior state and national committees such as representing the Agency on the National Soils RD&E Strategy and the Investor Advisory Group (IAG) of the National Soil Carbon Program, the National Agriculture Nitrous Oxide, the National Biochar Initiative.

Dr Kelly has 24 years of research experience with NSW DPI. Her research includes the role of soils and forestry in climate mitigation and adaptation options; the potential of dry land forestry for carbon sequestration; and the successful use of recycled organics as fertilisers and soil amendments for mine site rehabilitation. Her research has focused on practical, large-scale industry situations. Dr Kelly's extensive research and demonstration program has been funded by all levels of Government and the forestry, coal, water and waste industries.


  • BSc (Hons), School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, 1981
  • PhD, University of Sydney, 1988 and Jabez King Heydon Memorial Prize for the most meritorious PhD in the School of Biological Sciences
  • Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management, Flinders University 2011-2012  and IPAA NSW prize for the highest achieving graduate in 2013
  • Graduate: Company Directors Course, Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), 2013
  • Adjunct Assoc. Professor , School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales

Senior committees and representative roles

  • Member of Development Team for the  National RD&E Soils Strategy 2013-2014
  • National Forestry  RD&E Strategy - Representative of nominated PISC Agency Lead (NSW DPI) - 2012-current
  • NSW Adaptation Senior Officer Group - 2013-current
  • Climate PISC RD&E Strategy, Steering Committee, Alternate representative of NSW DPI - 2012-current
  • Investor Advisory Group: National Soil Carbon Program (Clean Energy Future) - 2012-current
  • Investor Advisory Group: National Agricultural Nitrous Oxide Research Program (Clean Energy Future) - 2012-current
  • Investor Advisory Group: National Livestock Methane Program (Clean Energy Future) - 2012-current
  • National Steering Committee: National Biochar Initiative II (Clean Energy Future) - 2012-current
  • DCCEE National Livestock Emissions Technical Working Group - 2012-current
  • DCCEE National Manure Management Technical Working Group - 2012-current
  • NSW Interagency Working Group to review Murray Darling Basin Plan (Climate) - 2011-12
  • NSW Interagency Effluent and Bi-Products Senior Officer Group - 2011-2012
  • National Steering Committee: Nitrous Oxide Research Program (CCRP) - 2009-2012
  • National Steering Committee: Reducing Livestock Emissions Research Program (CCRP) - 2009-2012
  • NSW Management Committee: Soil Carbon Research Program (CCRP) - 2009-2012
  • Deputy Chair, NSW Biosolids Taskforce - 2003-2008
  • NSW Committee to develop the NSW Biosolids Guidelines, and negotiations on the National Biosolids Guidelines - 1995-2008

Recent publications

Kelly GL (2013) Forestry and the Carbon Farming Initiative. Paper 5.1 SCoPI: Resource Management Committee, February 19th 2013

Kelly GL
, Levitt G, Cameron N (2012) SCoPI paper: 03B Forestry Productivity and The CFI, Standing Committee on Primary Industries, October 26th 2012

Anwar, M, Liu, DL,  Macadam, I and Kelly GL (2012), Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: A Review. Theoretical and Applied Climatology DOI 10.1007/s00704-012-0780-1

Ximenes, F, George, B, Cowie, C, Williams, J  Kelly, G (2012) Greenhouse Gas Balance of Native Forests in New South Wales, Australia. Forests. Special Issue; ‘The Role of Forests for Carbon Capture and Storage’ Forests 2012, 3, 653-683; doi:10.3390/f3030653

Ximenes, F, George, B,  Cowie, A , Kelly, G, Williams, J, Levitt, G  and K. Boer (2012) Harvested forests provide the greatest ongoing greenhouse gas benefits. Does current Australian policy support optimal greenhouse gas mitigation outcomes?’ Position Paper NSW DPI.

Kelly GL (2012) The role of recycled organics in the increase and nature of long term soil carbon pools. T07/CAG/09 Final Report to NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Kelly GL
(2009) Soil carbon for carbon credits Invited Speaker. Master Class: Water Treatment Wastes Disposal and Reuse Program Australian Water Association (30th November and 1st December 2009)

Chan KY, Cowie A, Kelly G, Singh BP and Slavich P (2008) Scoping paper: Soil organic carbon sequestration potential for agriculture in NSW. NSW DPI Science & Research Technical paper.

Kelly GL and Cowie A (2008) The role of recycled organics in the increase and nature of long term soil carbon pools: initial results. Biosolids Specialty Conference IV June 11-12, Adelaide. Australian Water Association. ISBN 987-1-921335-03-7

Kelly GL
(2008) The Use of soil amendments to maximise wood and carbon values from trees planted in overburden and buffer sites in the Hunter Valley. ACARP Final Report. 80pp Project No C10043

Meats A and Kelly GL (2008) Relation of constant, daily fluctuating, and ambient feeding temperature to daily and accumulated consumption of yeast autolysate and sucrose by female Queensland fruit fly. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 129(1):87-95.

Kelly GL (2008) Carbon Sequestration with Biosolids Reuse: Accounting for Carbon in the Water Industry. Australian Water Association 27-28 February 2008 Sydney. Invited Paper

Kelly GL
(2007) When Waste Becomes Resource: Opportunities in land rehabilitation Worry Wastewaters II – ReUse, Recycle, Discharge. Australian Water Association November 7-8, Parramatta, Sydney. Invited Paper

Kelly GL (2007) Recycled Organics and New Forests: In Rehabilitation by Design: A 2 Day Training Course: NSW Minerals Council, March 7-8, Singleton, NSW. Invited Speaker

Meats A, Holmes HM, Kelly GL (2007) Laboratory adaptation of Bactrocera tryoni (Diptera: Tephritidae) decreases mating age and increases protein consumption and number of eggs produced per milligram of protein. - Bulletin of Entomological Research (2004), 94: 517-524 Cambridge University Press doi:10.1079/BER2004332 Published online by Cambridge University Press 09Mar2007

Kelly GL (2006) Recycled Organics in Mine Site Rehabilitation - A review of scientific literature.

Kelly GL (2006) The Role of Biosolids Quality in Nutritional Balance and Growth of Hardwoods used for Minesite Rehabilitation.  Biosolids Specialty Conference III June 7-8, Melbourne. Australian Water Association. ISBN 0-908255-66-7

Kelly GL
(2005) Use of Biosolids on Radiata Pine Plantations - 15 years Research. 10th European Biosolids and Biowaste Conference. 13th -16th November 2005, Wakefield, UK

Kelly GL (2005) Efficacy of Municipal Organic and Green Wastes in Mine Site Rehabilitation. 10th European Biosolids and Biowaste Conference. 13th -16th November 2005, Wakefield, UK

Kelly GL
(2005) Use of Biosolids in Establishing Eucalypt Plantations for Mine Site Rehabilitation.10th European Biosolids and Biowaste Conference. 13th -16th November 2005, Wakefield, UK

Professional associations and activities

  • Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD)
  • Member of Institute of Public Administration  Australia (NSW)

Fields of research

  • 050207 Environmental Rehabilitation
  • 050302 Land Capability and Soil Degradation
  • 070504 Forestry Management and Environment

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Soil carbon
  • Mitigating climate change through soils
  • Recycled organics
  • Biosolids
  • Mine site rehabilitation
  • Dry land forestry

Contact details