These three papers together characterize trends in land use, resource issues, and research responses that are being observed in all regions of the country. However, southern states are the locus of the most recent and rapid changes in land use. The latest National Resources Inventory data shows that the increase in acreage of land in developed uses from 1992 through 1997 was most pronounced in the southern states. Figure 1 compares, for all states but Alaska, the average annual rate of land development (this is land moved into the urban and built-up category and the rural transportation land category) between 1992 and 1997. Eight of the top 13 states are in the southern region, and Louisiana, the southern state with the lowest rate of land development, is ranked at 29th out of 49.