Nurturing native flora and fauna around our Australia datacenters
At Microsoft, we recognize our responsibility to care for the land where our facilities reside. To serve as effective stewards for the land around our Australia datacenters, we are partnering with environmental and sustainability consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM). Together, we strive to nurture the health of the habitat so native flora and fauna can thrive on this land.
Working with nature to foster healthy habitats
Our initial goal is to determine what we can do to promote the land as a habitat for native wildlife. To develop our stewardship plan, we begin by listening to the land—literally. Ecologists from ERM are currently embarking on a 10-week wildlife inventory, using audio recordings and infrared wildlife camera footage to determine which animals currently call this land home. With springtime in full flush, animals are at their most active as they venture out to mate and finding nesting spots. Ecologists are also out in the field mapping the vegetation; these surveys will help answer critical questions like: What animals are using that vegetation as habitat? In what parts of the vegetation are those animals residing? Do we have birds that use the vegetation as a migratory pathway? By mapping the native vegetation, we can identify where to locate new plantings to create corridors for animals to use as they travel through the greater Sydney network of vegetation patches.
Restoring native species to the land
Microsoft datacenters in Australia reside on semi-urban bushland affected by past industrial use. As such, our habitat restoration will focus first on the removal of weeds and installation of fencing to control invasive predators like feral cats and foxes. Since native species on these sites are mostly tree dwellers, they can move freely through the canopy and are not impeded by these fences.
The field surveys and wildlife inventory will serve as our baseline, a “before” picture we can use to track the impact of our future land management efforts. ERM ecologists will perform similar site inspections every two to three years to see whether the number of flora and fauna species using this land is increasing. These checkups will help us identify what is working and what we need to do differently to nurture a habitat hospitable to native plants and animals.
At Microsoft, environmental stewardship is a core value. Together with ERM, we are working to nurture native fauna and flora in the bushland habitat around our Australia datacenters.