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Host in Ireland’s efforts to encourage the Irish datacentre industry to help reverse the decline in the country’s native bee populations have entered a new phase, with plans afoot to create more than 1,000 orchards nationwide during the 2021 and 2022 planting season.
The organisation, which is concerned with championing Ireland as a favourable place for datacentre market stakeholders to do business, has secured support for its orchard planting plans from 50 organisations within the wider Irish datacentre community.
“Orchards are important habitats as they support many species of flora and fauna, and – in particular – the 99 species of bees in Ireland, of which 30% are facing extinction,” said Host in Ireland, in a statement.
“The natural lifecycle of fruit trees provides food sources for pollinators and other species throughout the year. In addition, orchards have played an important role in communities for many centuries, as a focal point, a gathering space, and a place where people and nature successfully work together to create abundant harvests.”
Participants in the scheme will get a say in where the orchard they have pledged to support the creation of will be located, with datacentre-focused legal firm Eversheds Sutherlands already signed up to donate 40 orchards within the grounds of Barretstown children’s charity, which is based in County Kildare.
The charity itself is concerned with the provision of specially designed camps and play programmes for children and families living with serious illness, and it is hoped the orchards will enhance the campgrounds for the benefit of the families that stay there.
“Our goal at Barretstown is to provide our families with a chance to unwind, destress and enjoy quality family-time together in a fun, safe and relaxing environment,” said Tim O’Dea, director of development at Barretstown.
“The orchards will provide a wealth of activities for our campers to enjoy as they connect with nature and learn more about the lifecycle of pollinators and their environments. We are excited to plant the trees and grateful to our good friends and long-standing supporters, Eversheds, for their generous donation.”
News of the orchard planting initiative follows on from the publication of Host in Ireland’s 20-page DC for bees pollinator plan in April 2021, which it pulled together in collaboration with The National Biodiversity Data Centre in support of its five-year push to bolster the population of bees and other pollinators in Ireland.
The DC for Bees Pollinator Plan details specific actions the datacentre market and its stakeholders can take to do their bit to encourage bees and other natural pollinators to thrive, and has so far won the support of 40 of Host in Ireland’s datacentre industry partners.
The plan includes recommendations that datacentre operators reduce the frequency with which lawned area within their sites are mown to encourage wildflowers to growth, and encourages them to purposefully plant out “pollinator-friendly” bulbs, trees, shrubs and flowers in any “under-utilised” outdoor spaces within the grounds of their server farms.
“Success through collaboration has always been front and centre in who and what Host in Ireland stands for,” said Host in Ireland founder, Garry Connolly.
“DCs for Bees has been created to raise awareness and take action to reverse the dramatic decline in Ireland’s pollinators. Orchards in the Community gives our partners yet another opportunity to collaborate within their local communities and actively assist in the reverse of the decline of Ireland’s pollinators.”
Host in Ireland also confirmed it is working with the National Biodiversity Data Centre on a related project that seek to measure the health of pollinator populations in Ireland, although no further details on that were forthcoming at this time.
Read more about the Irish datacentre market
- The Irish datacentre industry must throw its full weight behind initiatives geared towards bolstering the sustainability of the country’s electricity grid or risk losing its position as one of Ireland’s largest export industries.
- Ireland’s growing prominence as a European datacentre hub is continuing apace, with research showing that the market is now receiving up to €1.3bn of inward investment each year from server farm operators.
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