The large and rapidly expanding body ofliterature related to nitrogen cycling in both managed and native terrestrial ecosystems reflects the importance accorded to the behaviour of this vital and often limiting nutrient. Research at the organism, ecosystem and landscape levels commonly addresses questions concerning nitrogen acquisition, internal cycling and retention. Goals for this research include increased agricultural productivity and a better understanding of human impact on local, regional and global nitrogen cycles. Nitrogen cycle research in tropical regions has a long and distinguished history. Research on different aspects of nitrogen cycling in ecosystems of the tropics has been carried out in many regions. In relatively few instances has there, however, been a focus on the biogeochemical cycles at the ecosystem level. The meeting resulting in this volume was an attempt to bring together existing information on nitrogen cycling in ecosystems of Latin America and the Caribbean and discuss this in an ecosystem context.