Nitrogen (N) is essential to the survival of all life forms and often limits productivity, decomposition and the long-term accumulation of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. Soil and vegetation are the respective primary and secondary sinks for N in terrestrial ecosystems. Litter production determines the amount and quality of N returned to the forest floor and mineral soil. Decomposition of litter is crucial for N recycling and is influenced by a number of factors, including litter concentrations of N and lignin.