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Fallen Trees? Scotch pines emit nitrogen oxides into the air

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1:23pm, March 12, 2003

Even pristine forests can contribute to air pollution. In fact, researchers now say that northern pine forests exude a family of nitrogen oxides and do so in quantities that may rival those produced worldwide by industry and traffic.

Nitrogen oxides can react with hydrocarbons to yield nitric acid, a primary ingredient in acid rain. They can also help produce smog-causing ozone. Scientists generally peg automobiles as the prime source of nitrogen oxides. Trees, on the other hand, are usually credited with sopping up air pollutants.

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