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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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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.
Women are 'key drivers' in climate change adaptation
April 25, 2013 01:44 PM - Bernard Appiah, SciDevNet
Plans to protect ecosystems and help people adapt to climate change - also known as ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) - must involve vulnerable groups, including women and communities greatly hit by global warming if they are to succeed, according to scientists who met in Tanzania last month (21-23 March). Scientists and policymakers at the UN-led international workshop on EBA in Dar-es-Salaam, also said that more needed to be done to monitor and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of such adaptation, and to learn from past experiences in order to transfer knowledge into action and policy.
Forest conservation could reduce malaria transmission
April 22, 2013 12:37 PM - María Elena Hurtado, SciDevNet
Preserving the biodiversity of tropical forests could have the added benefit of cutting the spread of malaria, according to a new study. The finding contradicts the traditional view that clearing native forest for agriculture curbs malaria transmission in the Amazon rainforest.
While satellite data has shown aerosols — tiny polluting particles in the air — to be rising over India, a new study based on primary data gathered from measuring instruments installed in a network of stations confirms the trend. The study, by a team from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, published online in Geophysical Research Letters last month (14 March), is based on the principle that aerosols absorb the sun's rays as they reach the earth's surface.