Dry and wet deposition and fertilization add significant amounts of N both to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. In most systems, the increase in soil N content leads to higher levels of foliar N and, hence, to higher litter N contents. The higher substrate quality (high litter and soil N levels) generally results in higher rates of decomposition. In some ecosystems, (e.g., Scots pine and Norway spruce forests), however, N fertilization has also been found to increase the amount of lignin in the litter, with consequent reduction in the decomposition rates, suggesting that the effect of N fertilization on decomposition could be complicated and counterintuitive.
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