Wednesday, January 26, 2011
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 11:47 AM on 25th January 2011
New legacy: Genghis Khan's bloody conquests scrubbed 700million tons of carbon from the atmosphere as depopulated land returned to forest
Genghis Khan has been branded the greenest invader in history - after his murderous conquests killed so many people that huge swathes of cultivated land returned to forest.
The Mongol leader, who established a vast empire between the 13th and 14th centuries, helped remove nearly 700million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, claims a new study.
The deaths of 40million people meant that large areas of cultivated land grew thick once again with trees, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
And, although his methods may be difficult for environmentalists to accept, ecologists believe it may be the first ever case of successful manmade global cooling.
‘It's a common misconception that the human impact on climate began with the large-scale burning of coal and oil in the industrial era,’ said Julia Pongratz, who headed the research by the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology.
‘Actually, humans started to influence the environment thousands of years ago by changing the vegetation cover of the Earth's landscapes when we cleared forests for agriculture,’ she told Mongabay.com.
The 700million tons of carbon absorbed as a result of the Mongol empire is about the same produced in a year from the global use of petrol.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1350272/Genghis-Khan-killed-people-forests-grew-carbon-levels-dropped.html#ixzz1C9S1qKyB
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