The effect of nitrogen (N) additions on the dynamics of carbon monoxide consumption in temperate forest soils is poorly understood. We measured soil CO profiles, potential rates of CO consumption and uptake kinetics in temperate hardwood and pine control plots and plots amended with 50 and 150 kg N ha-1 year-1 for more than 15 years. Soil profiles of CO concentrations were above atmospheric levels in the high-N plots of both stands, suggesting that in these forest soils the balance between consumption and production may be shifted so that either production is increased or consumption decreased. Highest rates of CO consumption were measured in the organic horizon and decreased with soil depth. In the N-amended plots, CO consumption increased in all but one soil depth of the hardwood stand, but decreased in all soil depths of the pine stand. CO enzyme affinities increased with soil depth in the control plots. However, enzyme affinities in the most active soil depths (organic and 0-5 cm mineral) decreased in response to low levels of N in both stands. In the high-N plots, affinities dramatically-increased in the hardwood stand, but decreased in the organic horizon and increased slightly in the 0-5 cm mineral soil in the pine stand. These findings indicate that long-term N addition either by fertilization or deposition may alter the size, composition and/or physiology of the community of CO consumers so that their ability to act as a sink for atmospheric CO has changed. This change could have a substantial effect on the lifetime of greenhouse gases such as CH4 and therefore the future of Earth's climate.