Paul Dettman is a sixth generation farmer working with properties across Victoria, SA and NSW.
Paul purchased his first conservation property in 2008, protecting 1000ha with a Trust for Nature covenant. While he still owns and uses his properties with covenants on them, it means the natural values of the property can be enhanced and the areas are protected even if the land is sold.
Since placing a covenant on his first property, Paul has established around 40 covenants on properties across South Eastern Australia –over 5,000ha in Victoria alone.
Paul now works to help other businesses to address damage done to the landscape and develop solutions in Carbon, Biodiversity Protection and Sustainable Agriculture. He aims to find properties that are close to other protected areas like national parks to help create connections between the reserves and wildlife on private land.
“National parks are big areas of biodiversity—they’re like continents and the land in between the parks are like islands. We want to link them up, giving species opportunity to increase their range.”
While creating space for native wildlife on his properties, the land is still used for farming and other purposes and creating a balance between nature and productivity is the key for our collective future.
“Farmers are Australia’s biggest land managers and rather than there being a tension between agriculture and conservation, we need to find synergy for the benefit of people and all other species.”
It’s not just Paul that can see the value of protecting nature on private land -as part of a protected habitat brand trial that identifies products grown on covenanted land, Paul received the highest price for wool at a recent auction, demonstrating that protecting nature is valued by buyers as well.
Paul’s focus is on protecting nature not just for today, but for well after he is gone.
“I want to make sure that whoever follows in managing these properties can’t undo the good work and years of protection we’ve put in.
I absolutely believe that in the future, the biodiverse parts of the landscape will be the most valued by farmers and the wider community –and now is the time to ensure they are not compromised.”