Eucalyptus pellita has rapidly emerged as the species that has replaced Acacia mangium in broad-scale commercial plantations in Indonesia following widespread losses due to disease and in soils that have suffered a steady decline in phosphorus (P) under plantation forestry. Conversion from a nitrogen (N)-fixing to a non-N fixing species is expected to change the nutrient dynamics and the management required to maximise productivity. In this study in South Sumatra, responses of E. pellita to the application of N, P, potassium (K) and calcium (Ca) fertilisers were assessed at a number of trials on sites with varying site history; A. mangium was planted at one site to compare the species' responses to N and P. The growth of E. pellita responded significantly (p <0.01) to P's application but not to N, K or Ca, with the addition of P increasing the stem volume by 32.6 m(3) ha(-1) at 3 years of age compared with no addition of P fertiliser; the demand for P in the first two years of growth was, respectively, 4.8 and 6.8 kg ha(-1). This positive and large response appears to be because E. pellita has a lower efficiency in its use of P than A. mangium and is, therefore, more responsive than A. mangium to the addition of P. The reason for the lack of response to N remains unclear, although demand for N as well as K and Ca was high. These results suggest that sites recently converted to E. pellita from A. mangium and also new ex-native forest sites will be likely to only respond to P addition and that the response of E. pellita is likely to be greater than for A. mangium to maximise yield. At present, additional N, Ca or K fertilisers are not required, but this may change in the future.