In this study, the indicative value of mosses as biomonitors of atmospheric nitrogen (N) depositions and air concentrations on the one hand and site-specific and regional factors which explain best the total N concentration in mosses on the other hand were investigated for the first time at a European scale using correlation analyses. The analyses included data from mosses collected from 2781 sites across Europe within the framework of the European moss survey 2005/6, which was coordinated by the International Cooperative Programme on Effects of Air Pollution on Natural Vegetation and Crops (ICP Vegetation). Modelled atmospheric N deposition and air concentration data were calculated using the Unified EMEP Model of the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). The modelled deposition and concentration data encompass various N compounds. In order to assess the correlations between moss tissue total N concentrations and the chosen predictors. Spearman rank correlation analysis and Classification and Regression Trees (CART) were applied. The Spearman rank correlation analysis showed that the total N concentration in mosses and modelled N depositions and air concentrations are significantly correlated (0.53 <= r(s) <= 0.68, p < 0.001). Correlations with other predictors were lower than 0.55. The CART analysis indicated that the variation in the total N concentration in mosses was best explained by the variation in NH4+ concentrations in air, followed by NO2 concentrations in air, sampled moss species and total dry N deposition. The total N concentrations in mosses mirror land use-related atmospheric concentrations and depositions of N across Europe. In addition to already proven associations to measured N deposition on a local scale the study at hand gives a scientific prove on the association of N concentration in mosses and modelled deposition at the European scale. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.