Atmospheric ammonia does not only cause acute injuries at vegetation close to the source, but significantly contributes to large scale nitrogen eutrophication and acidification of ecosystems because the amount of sources is high and after conversion to ammonium it can reach remote areas by long-range atmospheric transport. Besides having acute toxic potential, NH(3) and NH(4)(+) (= NH(y)) may disturb vegetation by secondary metabolic changes due to increased NH(y) uptake and assimilation leading to higher susceptibility to abiotic (drought, frost) and biotic (pests) stress. Prevention of damage to natural and semi-natural ecosystems will only be achieved if NH(3) emissions are drastically reduced. In this paper, the current knowledge on NH(y) emission, deposition, and its effects on vegetation and ecosystems are reviewed. Critical levels and critical loads for nitrogen deposition are discussed.