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The Science and Development Network aims to provide reliable and authoritative information about science and technology for the developing world. Their goal is to help both individuals and organizations in developing countries make informed decisions about how science and technology can improve economic and social development.
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Jaffna aquifer depleting from overuse
May 24, 2013 08:54 AM - Dilrukshi Handunnetti, SciDevNet
The single limestone aquifer, which is the main source of freshwater in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula, is gradually depleting through overuse, researchers say. "The area suffers from severe groundwater imbalance which might reach crisis proportions in the future," Shanti de Silva, one of two scientists who carried out the research for the agricultural department of the University of Jaffna, told SciDev.Net.
Deforestation Dries Up Dams Threatening Hydropower
May 23, 2013 11:08 AM - María Elena Hurtado, SciDevNet
Deforestation may lead to electricity shortages in tropical rainforest regions that rely heavily on hydropower, as fewer trees mean less rainfall for hydropower generation, a study shows.
What is Causing the Big Shrimp Die-Off in Asian Shrimp Farms?
May 23, 2013 05:50 AM - Mike Ives, SciDevNet
A cause of a mysterious disease devastating shrimp farms across Asia since 2009 has been tracked back to a strain of a bacteria native to coastlines around the world. The shrimp early mortality syndrome has perplexed experts for years, in a region where roughly one million people depend on shrimp farming for survival. So far countries officially reporting the disease — also referred to as acute hepatopancreatic necrosis syndrome — include China, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, but potentially it could affect shrimp farming further afield in Asia, as well as parts of Latin America and Africa.
African soil diversity mapped for the first time
May 22, 2013 10:19 AM - Bernard Appiah, SciDevNet
A team of international experts has drawn up the Soil Atlas of Africa — the first such book mapping this key natural resource — to help farmers, land managers and policymakers understand the diversity and importance of soil and the need to manage it through sustainable use. They say that despite soil's importance, most people in Africa lack knowledge about it, partly because information about it tends to be confined to academic publications read only by scientists.
Non-native goats and iguanas threaten Pacific islands
May 20, 2013 08:41 AM - Shaira Panela, SciDevNet
Feral goats and green iguanas wreaking havoc with the ecosystems in the small islands in the Pacific, biologists warn, in two separate studies published in Pacific Science last month, calling for control or elimination of these animals. The animals have been introduced there by humans, but are now threatening the survival of native wildlife.
Web tool tracks insecticide-resistant malaria mosquitoes
May 13, 2013 05:06 PM - Calvin Otieno, SciDevNet
An online mapping system to track insecticide resistance in malaria-causing mosquitoes around the world has been launched. The free interactive website identifies places in more than 50 malaria-endemic countries where mosquitoes have become resistant to the insecticides used in bed nets and indoor sprays. IR Mapper was launched last month (25 April) by Vestergaard Frandsen, a Swiss firm that makes disease-control products, and the KEMRI/CDC research and public health collaboration based in Kenya.
The Regional Centre for Climate Change and Decision-Making
May 9, 2013 06:53 AM - Daniela Hirschfeld, SciDevNet
South America has got its first think-tank aimed at providing climate change knowledge to decision-makers to help them design tools tailored to local needs. The Regional Centre for Climate Change and Decision-Making was launched earlier this year (19 March) in Montevideo, Uruguay, where it will have its headquarters and where it is organising its first training event for policymakers. The centre is a joint initiative by the Panama-based Avina Foundation, which promotes sustainable development in Latin America, and UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
DVD discs double as cheap diagnostic kit for HIV
May 7, 2013 04:12 PM - Richa Malhotra, SciDevNet
Researchers have turned conventional DVDs into portable and cheap diagnostic tools for developing countries, and are now adapting their prototype into a workable medical device. A team led by Aman Russom of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden has demonstrated proof-of-concept for the tool by testing for HIV. Blood samples are loaded into micro-channels on a modified, semi-transparent DVD disc and scanned by a DVD reader, which has been adapted to detect light transmitted through the disc. The image can then be visualized on a computer screen.
The latest studies on solar geoengineering to tackle climate change are reinforcing the case for a global governance system and further study before deployment, as they show that the approach may have little effect on preventing rainfall changes in the tropics — and may even lead to widespread drought in Africa. Several geoengineering initiatives plan to tackle climate change by cutting incoming sunlight, through methods such as spreading reflective aerosols in the stratosphere.
Economic development 'can restore lost biodiversity'
May 2, 2013 06:26 AM - Bernard Appiah, SciDevNet
Economic development can lead to increased biodiversity restoration in Sub-Saharan Africa, on a similar scale to its loss due to development, according to a study. Biodiversity loss is one of the important environmental threats that humanity faces, the study says, and it disproportionately harms the world's poorest people, who are less able to adjust to it, as they have limited access to alternatives then using natural resources for livelihoods.