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Record Area of Farmland Converted into Woodland in 2002
China converted more than 1.43 million hectares of cultivated land to woodland in 2002, a record high since it began implementing the plan to convert farmland to woodland, said sources with China's Ministry of Land and Resources.

According to a survey conducted by the ministry, China recorded a surplus in farmland utilization in 2002. A total of 260,800 hectares of farmland left uncultivated, mostly due to abandoned construction projects, were reclaimed last year, while the area of farmland lost due to construction and natural disasters reached 252,867 hectares.

Compared with the average for the past five years, the land lost to construction increased by 16,300 hectares in 2002, and the land lost to natural disasters was reduced by 30,300 hectares.

Ministry officials say China will face challenges in land use due to increasing pressure from surging nationwide construction and the plan to convert farmland to woodland.

China has the third largest land area in the world, but its per capita cultivated land is only 0.1 hectare, or 43 percent of the world average.

(People's Daily February 26, 2003)

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