The State Council, China's cabinet, has mobilized provincial and municipal governments to prepare for the second national land survey before 2010, said the Ministry of Land and Resources.
The last national land survey began in 1984 and took half a million geographical surveyors 11 years at a cost of more than one billion yuan (about US$129 million).
Under the ministry's Land Management and Development Guideline for 2006 and 2010, the second survey will be carried out in line with a uniform standard set by the central government.
Accuracy and integrity should be the aims of local geographical surveyors as the government intended to establish a land use database allowing real-time updating by land and resources management authorities, the guideline says.
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 figure had shrunk by nearly six percent 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 ministry estimated from rough calculations based on registered land transfers.
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.
As China's economy had maintained a double-digit growth, the government hoped to make full use of the land supply leverage to curb investment in fixed assets.
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.
(Xinhua News Agency May 2, 2007)