Research NewsEcology

A Nasty Brew From Pasture Fires

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Science  29 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5330, pp. 1205
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5330.1205a

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ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO-- Scientists studying climate change know that slash-and-burn land use in the tropics pumps out an enormous amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. But one talk at the ecology meeting here showed that slash-and-burn farmers do even more burning than researchers had thought, because after clearing the forest, farmers burn the fields again every couple of years to get rid of weeds and spur the growth of grasses. The extra burning sends into the skies a witch's brew of noxious pollutants as well as more greenhouse gases.