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land used in a planned and systematic manner for the production of agricultural goods. Agricultural land includes arable land, long-term plantations (orchards; berry patches; vineyards; plantations of citrus fruits, tea, and essential-oil plants; hop fields; mulberry groves; fruit nurseries), long-fallow land, hayfields, and pastures.
In 1973 the total world area of agricultural land was 4.48 billion hectares (ha), which included 1,457,000,000 ha of arable land and long-term plantations and 3.5 billion ha of hayfields and pastures. In 1974 the USSR had 607.8 million ha of agricultural land: 226.2 million ha of arable land, 45 million ha of hayfields, and 330.1 ha of pastures. Between 1964 and 1974 the area of agricultural land at various agricultural enterprises increased from 539.8 to 551.5 million ha, including an increase from 223.3 to 225.3 million ha in arable land and from 315 to 320.1 million ha in hayfields and pastures.
The quantity and quality of agricultural lands are constantly changing as new land is brought into agricultural production and as land already used for agricultural purposes is made more productive. Improvement is possible through land reclamation, the implementation of measures to combat soil erosion, and the cultivation of irrigated pastures.