Comparison of Area units
Unit SI
1 ca 1 m2
1 a 100 m2
1 ha 10,000 m2
100 ha 1 km2
non-SI comparisons
non-SI metric
0.3861 sq mi 1 km2
2.471 acre 1 ha
107,639 sq ft 1 ha
1 sq mi 259.0 ha
1 acre 0.4047 ha

The hectare (play /ˈhɛktɛər/ or /ˈhɛktɑr/; SI unit symbol ha) is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres (100 m by 100 m), and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare ('hecto-' + 'are') was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2. A hectare of land is about 2.47 acres.

When the metric system was rationalised in 1960 with the introduction of the International System of Units (SI), the are was not included as a recognised unit. The hectare is one of the non-SI units accepted for use with the SI units.



The metric system of measure was first given a legal basis in 1795 by the French Revolutionary government. The law of 18 Germinal, Year III (7 April 1795) defined five units of measure:[1]

  • The metre for length
  • The are (100 m2) for area [of land]
  • The stère (1 m3) for volume of stacked firewood[2]
  • The litre (1 dm3) for volumes of liquid
  • The gram for mass

Although the law defined the length of the metre, there was no practical way of accurately measuring the metre (and hence the are) until 1799 when the first standard metre was manufactured and adopted.

The standard metre remained in the custody of successive French governments until 1875 when, under the Convention of the Metre, its supervision passed into international control under the auspices of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (GCPM). At the first meeting of the GCPM in 1889 when a new standard metre, manufactured by Johnson Matthey & Co of London[3] was adopted, the are and hectare were automatically redefined.

In 1960, when the metric system was updated as the International System of Units (SI), the are did not receive international recognition. The International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) makes no mention of the are in the current (2006) definition of the SI, but classifies the hectare as a "Non-SI unit accepted for use with the International System of Units"[4]

In 1972, the European Economic Community (EEC) passed directive 71/354/EEC ,[5] which catalogued the units of measure that might be used within the community. The units that were catalogued replicated the recommendations of the GCPM, supplemented by a few other units including the are (and implicitly the hectare) whose use was limited to the measurement of land.

The units

The names centiare, decare and hectare are derived by adding the standard metric prefixes to the original base unit of area, the are.

Definition of a hectare and of an are.


The centiare (symbol ca) is a synonym for one square metre.


The deciare is a synonym for ten square metres.


The are (play /ˈɛər/[6] or /ˈɑr/;[7] symbol a) is a unit of area, equal to 100 square metres (10 m × 10 m), used for measuring land area. It was defined by older forms of the metric system, but is now outside of the modern International System (SI).[8]

It is commonly used to measure real estate, in particular in Indonesia and in French-, Portuguese-, Slovakian-, Czech-, Polish-, Dutch-, and German-speaking countries.

In Russia and other former Soviet Union states, the "sotka" (сотка 'hundredth') is identical to the are. It is used to describe the size of suburban dacha or allotment garden plots or small city parks where the hectare would be too large.


The decare (symbol daa) is derived from deka, the prefix for 10 and are, and is equal to 10 ares or 1000 square metres. It is used in Norway[9] and in the former Ottoman areas of the Middle East and the Balkans[10] as a measure of land area. In the formerly Ottoman area, instead of the name 'decare', the names of traditional land measures are usually used, redefined as one decare:


Trafalgar Square, which has an area of about one hectare.[13]

The hectare (play /ˈhɛktɛər/ or /ˈhɛktɑːr/;[14] symbol ha) is widely used throughout the world[15] and is the legal unit of measure in domains concerned with land ownership, planning, and management, including law (land deeds), agriculture, forestry, and town planning throughout the European Union.[16] The United States, Burma[citation needed] and to some extent Canada instead use the acre.[citation needed].

Some countries that underwent a general conversion from traditional measurements to metric measurements (e.g. Canada) required a resurvey when units of measure in legal descriptions relating to land were converted to metric units.[citation needed] Others, such as South Africa, published conversion factors which were to be used particularly when preparing consolidation diagrams by compilation.[17]

In many countries, metrication redefined or clarified existing measures in terms of metric units. (cf. Category:Metricated units) The following legacy units of area have been redefined as being equal to one hectare:[18]

  • Jerib in Iran
  • Djerib in Turkey
  • Gong qǐng in mainland China
  • Manzana in Argentina
  • Bunder in The Netherlands (until 1937)[19]


Metric and Imperial/US Customary Comparisons
Units Symbol Metric Equivalents Imperial/US Customary Equivalents
centiare ca 1 m2 0.01 a 1.19599 sq yd
are a 100 ca 100 m2 0.01 ha 3.95369 perches
decare daa 10 a 1,000 m2 0.1 ha 0.98842 roods
hectare ha 100 a 10,000 m2 0.01 km2 2.47105 acres
square kilometre km2 100 ha 1,000,000 m2 0.38610 sq mi

The most commonly used units are in bold.

One hectare is also equivalent to:

Visualising a hectare

Visitors to London can visualize a hectare by visiting Trafalgar Square.

International rugby field

Waikato Stadium – Hamilton, New Zealand
The maximum playing area of an international-sized rugby union field is about one hectare

On an international rugby union field the goal lines are up to 100 metres apart. Behind the goal line is the in-goal area (which is also a playing area). This area extends between 10 and 22 metres behind the goal line, giving a maximum length of 144 metres for the playing area. The maximum width of the pitch is 70 metres, giving a maximum playing area of 10,080 square metres or 1.008 hectares.[22]

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty – New York Harbor
The Statue of Liberty requires a square of land with an area of one hectare

40°41′21″N 74°2′40″W / 40.68917°N 74.04444°W / 40.68917; -74.04444

The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French people to the American people dedicated on 28 October 1886 to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the French and American Revolutions, is located on Liberty Island at the entrance to New York Harbor. Its base is built on eighteenth-century fortifications.

The distance between the apex of the bastions in the front of the base to those at the back (where the entrance to the statue is located) is approximately 100 m while the distance between the apexes of the left-hand and right-hand bastions is a little under 100 m. Thus, if a square were to enscribe the bastions, it would have sides of approximately 100 m, giving it an area of one hectare.

Interior of all-weather athletics track

Hansen Field at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois incorporates an all-weather running track
The grass in the centre of a standard athletic track is a little over one hectare in extent

Athletics tracks are found in almost every country of the world. Although many tracks consist of markings on a field of suitable size, where funds permit, specialist all-weather tracks have a rubberized artificial running surface with a grass interior (as shown in the picture and diagram). The perimeter of the inside kerb of the track is a little under 400 metres, as the actual length of the track is measured 300 mm from the inside kerb.[23] The IAAF specifications state that the radius of the kerb is 36.5 m, from which it can be calculated that the area inside the kerb is 1.035 ha.[24]

See also


  1. ^ "La loi du 18 Germinal an 3 (The law of 18 Germanial year 3) « la mesure [républicaine de superficie pour les terrains, égale à un carré de dix mètres de côté »"]. Le CIV (Centre d'Instruction de Vilgénis) – Forum des Anciens. http://aviatechno.free.fr/unites/nouveausys.php. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  2. ^ Thierry Thomasset. "Le stère" (in French). Tout sur les unités de mesure [All the units of measure]. Université de Technologie de Compiègne. http://www.utc.fr/~tthomass/Themes/Unites/unites/infos/stere/Le%20stere.pdf. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  3. ^ F J Smith. "Standard Kilogram Weights – A Story of Precision Fabrication". Platinum Metals Rev., 1973, 17, (2). http://www.platinummetalsreview.com/pdf/pmr-v17-i2-066-068.pdf. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  4. ^ "SI brochure (Chapter 4; Table 6)". International Bureau of Weights and Measures. 2006. http://www.bipm.org/en/si/si_brochure/chapter4/table6.html. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  5. ^ "Council Directive of 18 October 1971 on the approximation of laws of the member states relating to units of measurement, (71/354/EEC)". http://eur-lex.europa.eu/Notice.do?mode=dbl&lang=en&lng1=en,nl&lng2=da,de,el,en,es,fr,it,nl,pt,&val=22924:cs&page=1&hwords=. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  6. ^ http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/are_7
  7. ^ "are". Oxford Dictionaries. http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_gb0038720?rskey=sLRO50&result=2#m_en_gb0038720. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  8. ^ "SI brochure (8th edition)". BIPM. March 2006. http://www.bipm.org/en/si/si_brochure/. 
  9. ^ "Decrease in total grain yield". Grain and oil seeds, area and production, 2002. Statistics Norway. http://www.ssb.no/korn_en/arkiv/art-2003-03-19-01-en.html. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  10. ^ "Market of agricultural land in Bulgaria". BNR Radio Bulgaria. 5 October 2010. http://www.bnr.bg/sites/en/Economy/Pages/0510Marketofagriculturalland.aspx. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  11. ^ Λεξικό της κοινής Νεοελληνικής (Dictionary of Modern Greek), Ινστιτούτο Νεοελληνικών Σπουδών, Θεσσαλονίκη, 1998. ISBN 960-231-085-5
  12. ^ El-Eini, Roza I.M. (2006). "Currency and Measures". Mandated landscape: British imperial rule in Palestine, 1929–1948. Routledge. p. xxiii. ISBN 9780714654263. http://books.google.com/books?id=ekQOAAAAQAAJ&dq=El-Eini+%22Mandated+Landscape%22&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=Nqqy5AZ68a&sig=7a4faV6n_F9rSonfla0pC5wCGZA&hl=en&ei=xPz_SfHgJqXhtge_lJWQBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#PPR23,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  13. ^ "DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS, AND RURAL PAYMENTS AGENCY; The Delays in Administering the 2005 Single Payment Scheme in England". National Audit Office. 2006-10-18. http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc0506/hc16/1631/1631.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  14. ^ "hectare". Oxford Dictionaries. http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_gb0370830#m_en_gb0370830. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  15. ^ Bureau international des poids et mesures (2006). The International System of Units (SI). 8th ed.. http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8_en.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-13.  Chapter 5.
  16. ^ The Council of the European Communities (2009-05-27). "Council Directive 80/181/EEC of 20 December 1979 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to Unit of measurement and on the repeal of Directive 71/354/EEC". http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:1980L0181:20090527:EN:PDF. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
  17. ^ "Instructions for the Conversions of Areas to Metric". Law Society of South Africa. 2007-11. http://www.lawsoc.co.za/webs/surveyorgeneral/2007_11_area_conversion.doc. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  18. ^ Britannica, unit of measurement, accessed 2009-10-30
  19. ^ Oscar van Vlijmen (11 September 2006). "Oppervlakte [Area]" (in Dutch). Eenheden, constanten en conversies [Units, constants and conversion]. http://home.kpn.nl/vanadovv/Opp.html. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  20. ^ "Chinese Measurements – Units of Area". On-line Chinese Tools. http://www.mandarintools.com/measures.html. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  21. ^ "Thailand Property Conversion". Siam Legal (Thailand) Co., Ltd. http://www.siam-legal.com/realestate/thailand-convert-rai.php. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  22. ^ "Law 1 – The Ground". Laws of the Game – Rugby Union 2010. International Rugby Board (IRB). http://www.irblaws.com/EN/laws/2/1/2/before-the-match/the-ground/the-plan/#clause_2. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  23. ^ "IAAF 400 Metre Standard Track Marking Plan". IAAF. 2008. http://www.iaaf.org/mm/Document/Competitions/TechnicalArea/04/63/95/20081202044225_httppostedfile_Fig_2.2.1.6a_Marking_Outdoor_7462.pdf. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  24. ^ This is a standard high school problem in geometry

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • hectare — [ ɛktar ] n. m. • 1795; de hect(o) et are ♦ Métrol. Unité de mesure agraire de superficie équivalant à cent ares ou dix mille mètres carrés. Exploitation agricole de cent hectares. Rendement à l hectare. Symb. ha . Un terrain de 100 ha. ● hectare …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • hectare — hec‧tare [ˈhektɑː, teə ǁ ter] noun [countable] FARMING a unit for measuring area, equal to 10,000 square metres * * * hectare UK US /ˈhekteər/ noun [C] MEASURES ► a unit used for measuring land. One hectare is the same as 10,000 square metres:… …   Financial and business terms

  • hectare — 1810, from Fr. hectare a hundred ares, formed from Gk. hekaton hundred (see HECATOMB (Cf. hecatomb)) + L. area vacant piece of ground (see AREA (Cf. area)). A superficial measure containing 100 ares, coined by decree of the French National… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Hectare — Hec tare , n. [F., fr. Gr. ? hundred + F. are an are.] A measure of area, or superficies, containing a hundred ares, or 10,000 square meters, and equivalent to 2.471 acres. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hectare — |è| s. m. Medida agrária de cem ares ou hectômetro quadrado …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • hectare — (abbrev.: ha) ► NOUN ▪ a metric unit of square measure, equal to 10,000 square metres (2.471 acres). DERIVATIVES hectarage noun. ORIGIN from Greek hekaton hundred + Latin area piece of level ground …   English terms dictionary

  • hectare — [hek′ter΄] n. [Fr: see HECTO & ARE2] one hundred ares or 10,000 square meters or 0.01 square kilometer (11,959.9 square yards or 2.471 acres): abbrev. ha …   English World dictionary

  • Hectare — L’hectare (symbole : ha) est la surface d’un carré de 100 mètres de côté, qui est équivalent à 10 000 mètres carrés ; l hectare est donc un multiple de l’unité are (mesure de superficie). C’est une unité en dehors du système… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • hectare — /hek tair/, n. a unit of surface, or land, measure equal to 100 ares, or 10,000 square meters: equivalent to 2.471 acres. Abbr.: ha Also, hektare. [1800 10; < F; see HECT , ARE2] * * * ▪ unit of measurement       unit of area in the metric system …   Universalium

  • hectare — The most commonly used measure of agricultural lands in the metric system. A hectare equals 10,000 square meters (or 2.471 acres). Hectare is the measure used in most of the world outside the United States. To convert hectares to acres, multiply… …   Combined glossary of agriculture

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