As close neighbours, Scotland and Ireland share many common features of their physical environments and historical evolutions. Located on the Atlantic periphery of the European Community, the two countries also share many of the problems and the opportunities that this confers. At a time when major changes in rural land use are being instigated by the European Community, knowing more about each other's land use, sharing experiences and discussing policies are of mutual benefit. The investigations reported in this volume - in a sequence of paired papers by a distinguished panel of Scottish and Irish contributors - are all the more apposite. Irish and Scottish land is still used predominantly for agriculture, although its use for forestry, recreation and conservation is of increasing importance. This study traces the interaction of various factors that have influenced present-day land use in the two countries, as well as identifying emerging trends that will assume greater economic and social importance in the years ahead.