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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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Small birds save big money for Costa Rica's farmers
September 6, 2013 11:13 AM - Nature News, SciDevNet
The yellow warbler may not pull a perfect latte, but it turns out it's a friend to coffee drinkers all the same. Research in Costa Rica shows that hungry warblers and other birds significantly reduce damage by a devastating coffee pest, the coffee berry borer beetle.
Well-managed mangroves 'can survive rising sea levels'
September 4, 2013 08:05 AM - Richa Malhotra, SciDevNet
The prevailing idea that sea-level rise will inevitably wipe out mangrove forests — fragile ecosystems that protect nearby communities from natural hazards such as floods and storms — is challenged by a recent report. Mangroves in some areas will be able to survive climate change-induced sea-level rise as they can slowly increase the level of soil in which they thrive, but only if they are managed and protected, according to 'The response of mangrove soil surface elevation to sea level rise' report. Activities such as building dams on rivers and converting mangrove areas into shrimp farms may have a stronger impact on the health of mangroves than sea-level rise, the report adds. Once weakened by such changes, mangroves will be less able to adapt to changes in sea level.
Planting trees in deserts to fight climate change
August 26, 2013 06:16 AM - Earth System Dynamics, SciDevNet
Planting trees in coastal deserts could capture carbon dioxide, reduce harsh desert temperatures, boost rainfall, revitalise soils and produce cheap biofuels, say scientists. Large-scale plantations of the hardy jatropha tree, Jatropha curcas, could help sequester carbon dioxide through a process known as 'carbon farming', according to a study based on data gathered in Mexico and Oman that was published in Earth System Dynamics. Each hectare of the tree could soak up 17-25 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, they say, at a cost of 42-63 euros (about US$56-84) per tonne of gas, the paper says. This makes the technique competitive with high-tech carbon capture and storage.
Smartphones could provide weather data in poor nations
August 23, 2013 08:43 AM - Laura Garcia, SciDevNet
Smartphones can now be used to collect weather data such as air temperatures through WeatherSignal, a crowdsourcing app developed by UK start-up OpenSignal. This helps crowdsource real-time weather forecasts and could one day help collect climate data in areas without weather stations, its developers say. Once installed, the app automatically collects data and periodically uploads them to a server.
How much will climate change cost coastal cities?
August 19, 2013 06:06 AM - Jörg Dietze/Sustainable sanitation, SciDevNet
Global damage from flooding could cost coastal cities as much as US$1 trillion per year — and developing countries will be hardest hit, a study warns. According to the paper published today in Nature Climate Change, a "risk sensitive planning" strategy is needed to protect coastal cities, which are increasingly at risk because of climate change, subsidence and a growing population.
Pesticide risks need more research and regulation
August 16, 2013 09:47 AM - Editor, SciDevNet
Developing countries need stronger pesticide regulation and a better understanding of how pesticides behave in tropical climates, according to experts behind a series of articles published in Science today. They also need an international body to carry out regular pesticide safety assessments — ensuring they are used properly by farmers who are given thorough training in their use — and to monitor the safety of chemical levels in food, the experts say.
Non-food crops lock up enough calories to feed 4 billion
August 14, 2013 11:58 AM - Lou Del Bello, SciDevNet
Global calorie availability could be increased by as much as 70 per cent — feeding an additional 4 billion people — by shifting cropland use to produce food for humans rather than livestock feed and biofuels, according to new research.
Crowd-sourced maps may help when disasters hit
August 12, 2013 12:48 PM - Joel Winston, SciDevNet
A free online map of the world that is created by its users is helping developing nations become more resilient to disasters, the Open Source Convention in Portland, United States, heard last month (22-26 July).
GM rice delivers antibodies against deadly rotavirus
August 9, 2013 08:50 AM - Michelle Dobrovolny, SciDevNet
A strain of rice genetically engineered to protect against diarrhoeal disease could offer a cost-effective way to protect children in developing countries, according a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Saudi Arabia to Launch Online Atlas of Renewable Resources
August 8, 2013 08:45 AM - Rehab Abd Almohsen, SciDevNet
Saudi Arabia is launching an online atlas of renewable resources as part of a wider project to identify the potential renewable energy sources and where best to deploy technology to tap into those resources. The atlas data will be available in late 2013, published online through the Renewable Resource Monitoring and Mapping programme.