Global warming will lead to increased nitrogen supply in tundra ecosystems. How increased N supply affected leaf production, leaf turnover and dead leaf N input into the soil of Empetrum nigrum and Andromeda polifolia (evergreens), Eriophorum vaginatum (graminoid) and Betula nana (deciduous) in a sub-arctic tundra in northern Sweden between 2003 and 2007 was experimentally investigated. There was considerable interspecific variation in the response of leaf production to N addition, varying from negative, no response to a positive response. Nitrogen addition effects on leaf turnover also showed considerable variation among species, varying from no effect to increased leaf turnover (up to 27% in Eriophorum). Nitrogen addition resulted in a four to fivefold increase in N content in the dead leaves of both evergreens and a 65% increase in Eriophorum. Surprisingly, there was no increase in Betula. The response of dead leaf P contents to N addition was rather species specific. There was no response in Empetrum, whereas there were significant increases in Andromeda (+214%) and Eriophorum (+32%), and a decrease of 47% in Betula. As an overall result of the changes in leaf production, leaf turnover and dead leaf N and P contents, nitrogen addition increased in all species except Betula the amount of N and, for Andromeda and Eriophorum the amount of P transferred to the soil due to leaf litter inputs. However, the way in which this was achieved differed substantially among species due to interspecific differences in the response of the component processes (leaf production, leaf turnover, dead leaf nutrient content). © 2008 The Author(s).