The Ministry of Land and Resources reports that the State Council, China’s cabinet, has mobilized provincial and municipal governments to prepare for the second national land survey before 2010. The last national land survey began in 1984 and took half a million geographical surveyors 11 years at a cost of more than RMB1 billion ($129 million).
The government intends to establish a land use database allowing real-time updating by land and resources management authorities. The survey will cover 2,800 counties in 331 cities of 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and record the ownership of every piece of land in use.
China’s arable land stood at 130.03 million hectares when the first national land survey was completed in 1996. The ministry estimated from rough calculations based on registered land transfers that the figure had shrunk by nearly 6% to 121.8 million hectares by October last year, reducing the per capita arable land area to 1.39 mu or 0.093 hectares.
The total arable land area was only slightly higher than the 120-million-hectare bottom line designated by the central government to ensure food security.
Fan Zhiquan, director of the Land Registration Management of the Ministry of Land and Resources, said a comprehensive and accurate land survey was a precondition for a wise macro-economic control policy.