Satellite Monitors Illegal Use of Land

China is using satellite remote-sensing technology to monitor the illegal occupation of arable land, announced the Ministry of Land and Resources.

The satellite-generated photographs and maps leave those responsible no room for denials, said the ministry.

Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province, has been successful in using the technology and has seized 187.6 hectares of cultivated land with satellite evidence.

Most Chinese cities have built infrastructure according to authorized land utilization programs.

The ministry disclosed the results of the country's first large-scale remote-sensing monitoring of land use on Wednesday.

Jiang Chunyun, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, said it was good to see the cities take initiative to satisfy their development needs while obeying strict national laws protecting cultivated land.

Jiang urged the ministry to keep applying remote-sensing to more practical work.

Cities found to be poorly supervising land use have been forced to correct violations by returning land to cultivation. Other cities are also holding overall evaluations of land use to check for violations.

From October 1998 to October 1999, China used remote-sensing to monitor the land use of 66 major cities. These monitored cities are mostly located in the Northeast and Central China.

The project monitors the seizure of cultivated land in urban expansion, industrial production, mining, and railway and highway construction.

The cultivated land area being monitored is 19.5 per cent of the country's total arable land.

Experts have authorized the monitoring results calling them reliable for use in future land management.

The Ministry has decided to establish a remote-sensing monitoring network on land use for all major cities in the next three years. Monitoring will be done annually for the next 10 years.

(from China Daily)

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