The hectare (/ˈhɛktɛər/ or /ˈhɛktɑːr/; symbol ha) is an SI accepted metric system unit of area equal to 100 ares (10,000 m2) and primarily used in the measurement of land as a metric replacement for the imperial acre. An acre is about 0.405 hectare and one hectare contains about 2.47 acres.

In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the "are" was defined as 100 square metres and the hectare ("hecto-" + "are") was thus 100 "ares" or 1100 km2. When the metric system was further rationalised in 1960, resulting in the International System of Units (SI), the are was not included as a recognised unit. The hectare, however, remains as a non-SI unit accepted for use with the SI units, mentioned in Section 4.1 of the SI Brochure as a unit whose use is "expected to continue indefinitely".

Comparison of Area units
Unit SI
1 ca 1 m2
1 a 100 m2
1 ha 10,000 m2
100 ha 1,000,000 m2
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 metric system of measurement 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:

  • The metre for length
  • The are (100 m2) for area [of land]
  • The stère (1 m3) for volume of stacked firewood
  • 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 (CGPM). At the first meeting of the CGPM in 1889 when a new standard metre, manufactured by Johnson Matthey & Co of London 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"

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

Many UK farmers, especially older ones, still use the acre for everyday calculations, and convert to hectares only for official (especially European Union) paperwork. Farm fields can have very long histories which are resistant to change, with names such as "the six acre field" stretching back hundreds of years and across generations of family farmers. Some younger agricultural workers are now beginning to think in hectares as their "first language", though this is more typical of professional consultants and managers than of traditional farming and land-owning families, and in some circles may be viewed as a social class indicator.


Hectare Diagram.svg
Definition of a hectare and of an are.

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


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


The deciare is ten square metres.


The are (/ˈɑːr/; or /ˈɛər/ 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 of Units (SI).

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

In Russia and other former Soviet Union states, the are is called "sotka" (Russian: сотка: 'a hundred', i.e. 100 m2). 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 (/ˈdɛkɑːr/ or /ˈdɛkɛər/; 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 and in the former Ottoman areas of the Middle East and the Balkans (Bulgaria) as a measure of land area. Instead of the name "decare", the names of traditional land measures are usually used, redefined as one decare:

  • Stremma in Greece
  • Dunam, dunum, donum, or dönüm in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey
  • Mål is sometimes used for decare in Norway, from the old measure of about the same area.


Trafalgar Square, London 2 - Jun 2009.jpg
Trafalgar Square has an area of about one hectare.

The hectare (/ˈhɛktɛər/ or /ˈhɛktɑːr/; symbol ha), although not strictly a unit of SI, is the only named unit of area that is accepted for use within the SI. In practice the hectare is fully derived from the SI (being equivalent to a squared hectometre, so it is as it where an SI unit but with a different name. It is widely used throughout the world for the measurement of large areas of land, and it 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. The United Kingdom, United States, Burma, and to some extent Canada instead use the acre.

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. Others, such as South Africa, published conversion factors which were to be used particularly "when preparing consolidation diagrams by compilation".

In many countries, metrication redefined or clarified existing measures in terms of metric units. The following legacy units of area have been redefined as being equal to one hectare:

  • Jerib in Iran
  • Djerib in Turkey
  • Gong Qing (公頃/公顷 – gōngqǐng) in Hong Kong / mainland China
  • Manzana in Argentina
  • Bunder in The Netherlands (until 1937)


Metric and imperial/US customary comparisons
Unit 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 2.471 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:

  • 1 square hectometre
  • 15 mǔ or 0.15 qǐng
  • 10 dunam or dönüm (Middle East)
  • 10 stremmata (Greece)
  • 6.25 rai (Thailand)
  • ≈ 1.008 chō (Japan)
  • ≈ 2.381 feddan (Egypt)

Visualising a hectare

International rugby pitch

Hamilton 03.jpg
Waikato Stadium – Hamilton, New Zealand
The maximum playing area of an international-sized rugby union pitch is about one hectare

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty occupies a square of land with an area of one hectare

Interior of all-weather athletics track

Hansen Field.JPG
Hansen Field at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois incorporates an all-weather running track
Piste athl%C3%A9tisme-en.svg
The grass in the centre of a standard athletic track is a little over one hectare in extent

See also

Content from Wikipedia