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Bee booby-traps defend African farms from elephants
May 14, 2014 08:02 AM - Georgia Achia, SciDevNet
Wire fences booby-trapped with beehives are being built in five African countries to prevent elephants from raiding farms, while also providing local people with honey. 'Beehive fences' are now being put up in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda by UK charity Save the Elephant, says Lucy King, leader of the Elephants and Bees Project in Kenya — and they are already in use at three communities in Kenya.
First Standardized Global Land Cover Map Released
May 2, 2014 08:10 AM - Giovanni Sabato, SciDevNet
The first map of detailed information on worldwide land cover collected using uniform international standards, the Global Land Cover-SHARE database, was released in March by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Experts say it will help to improve research into natural resources and monitor global environmental changes.
Cry for global STEM funding
April 24, 2014 10:50 AM - Oliver Girard, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) , SciDevNet
In today's global economy, a workforce trained in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is recognized as a primary driver of growth. Around the world, STEM education initiatives vary in scope, size, type, target populations and funding sources. What’s missing is a unified global mechanism for STEM education. Creating a Global STEM Fund would help support and implement effective and innovative STEM programs in developing countries. The NGO Cosmos Education, the STEM Innovation Camp in South Africa, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the Bunengi STEM Africa are but a few examples of organizations and programs that could benefit.
Bats can help protect rice farms against pests
April 14, 2014 02:28 PM - Yao-Hua Law, SciDevNet
[KUALA LUMPUR] Bats that prey on a major rice pest in Thailand could save paddy harvests worth millions of dollars and help contribute to better food security, scientists say in a paper published in Biological Conservation recently (March).
IPCC warns over greater risk to food and water security
April 2, 2014 10:38 AM - F.Fiondella/IRI/CCAFS, SciDevNet
[NEW DELHI] The climate change-related risks from extreme events such as floods and heat waves will rise further with global warming, aggravating food and water insecurity, especially for some of the poorest communities, says the second instalment of the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
Seaweed forests could help power tropical islands
April 1, 2014 06:45 AM - Jan Piotrowski, SciDevNet
Harvesting seaweed 'forests' and feeding them into large underwater digesters could one day meet the world's energy needs, with nine per cent of the ocean floor being enough to replace fossil fuels entirely, according to an ambitious idea. Even a more immediate and realistic use of seaweed — a major untapped resource — would greatly increase the self-sufficiency and sustainability of small island states, but limited investment is preventing the roll-out of relevant technologies, marine biofuel experts have said.
Climate-hit fisheries 'can still meet demand in 2050'
March 31, 2014 09:04 AM - Zoraida Portillo, SciDevNet
Fish catches will need to increase by only 3.4 per cent to meet global dietary demand in 2050, according to a study predicting how climate change will affect marine ecosystems. The authors warn that achieving this will require the wider implementation of sustainable harvesting, such as technological developments to reduce dependence on wild stock for farmed fish feed, and more-effective distribution of wild fish products from regions with a surplus to those with a deficit.
Scientists develop system to filter water using plant sticks
March 18, 2014 01:21 PM - Yao-Hua Law, SciDevNet
Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States are working with their counterparts in developing countries to produce an "economical and efficient" means of filtering out bacteria from water using plant xylem that normally transports water and nutrients from the soil. The novel technology could provide a solution to the burden of water-borne diseases in East Asia and the Pacific where about 180 million people lack access to safe water supply, according to the UNICEF (UN Children's Fund).
Warmer years linked to more malaria in tropical highlands
March 13, 2014 01:53 PM - Pablo Correa, SciDevNet
[BOGOTA] People in densely populated highlands of Africa and South America — who have so far been protected from malaria by cooler temperatures — may be seeing more of the disease as the climate changes, according to a study in Science (6 March).
Challenges and a call for Conservation Cooperation in the Arab world
March 8, 2014 08:31 AM - Mark Henley, SciDevNet
The Arab region's best chance of facing the challenges of food insecurity, water scarcity and natural disasters lies in collaborating on environmental preservation, a study says. The study, published in The Lancet (20 January), argues that current academic discussions about health, population and development in the Arab region fail to convey the true level of urgency.