Unused land tapped for future development

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China’s vast “unused” coastal land could be used for development said Sun Wensheng, head of the Ministry of Land and Resources, on a recent survey tour to Shandong and Hebei Provinces. The unused land, areas that are not good for agricultural nor construction purposes, including saline-alkalized land, beaches, sand lands, quagmire and bare rocks, will be looked at in the future as a direction for future land development.

China’s arable land area has been shrinking to a red alert status of merely 1.8 billion Chinese acres. A recent survey indicated that the amount of arable land was continuing to decrease despite government efforts to stop it. To maintain the current amount of arable land while providing land for economic growth has been the top of the ministry’s agenda Sun said. One way to preserve the balance was to look beyond the usable land.

The minister mentioned Cangzhou, Hebei Province, as a home to vast unused land that could be developed. Unused land can be also found in the coastal areas of Hebei, Shandong, Tianjin and Liaoning Sun said. According to a 2006 survey, 31 provinces and autonomous regions in China have a total of 2.6 million square kilometers of unused land. However, Dr. Huang Zhengxue of the Land Research Center of the Institute of Macro Economy under the National Development and Reform Commission said unused land has a very fragile ecology and that massive development of such land would risk destroying the environment.