There is little evidence that nitrogen (N) cycling in the highly weathered, low-phosphorus (P), acidic soils found in Southern Hemisphere continents will differ greatly from that in North America and Europe. Evidence from the ‘south’ shows: the similarity in forms and temporal patterns in losses of N from different land uses; that the C:N ratios of the forest floor/litter layer from different continents are strongly predictive of a range of processes on a global scale; that generalizations based on Northern Hemisphere experience of the impact of N additions to ‘P-limited’ ecosystems are likely to fail for southern ecosystems where anatomical and physiological adaptation of native plants to low-P soils makes questionable the concept of ‘P-limitation’; that the greatest threats in the ‘south’ are probably changes in land use that may greatly increase N inputs and turnover; that localized increases in N inputs produce similar effects to those seen in the ‘north’.
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Vol. 33 • No. 8