As the two limiting nutrients for plants in most terrestrial ecosystems, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are essential for the development of succession forests. Vegetation N:P stoichiometry is a useful tool for detecting nutrient limitation. In the present work, chronosequence analysis was employed to research N and P accumulation dynamics and their stoichiometry during forest primary succession in a glacier retreat area on the Tibetan Plateau. Our results showed that: (1) total ecosystem N and P pools increased from 97 kg hm.sup.-2 to 7186 kg hm.sup.-2 and 25 kg hm.sup.-2 to 487 kg hm.sup.-2, respectively, with increasing glacier retreat year; (2) the proportion of the organic soil N pool to total ecosystem N sharply increased with increasing glacier retreat year, but the proportion of the organic soil and the vegetation P pools to the total ecosystem P was equivalent after 125 y of recession; (3) the N:P ratio for tree leaves ranged from 10.1 to 14.3, whereas the N:P ratio for total vegetation decreased form 13.3 to 8.4 and remained constant after 35 y of recession, and the N:P ratio for organic soil increased from 0.2 to 23.1 with increasing glacier retreat. These results suggested that organic soil N increased with increasing years of glacier retreat, which may be the main sink for atmospheric N, whereas increased P accumulation in vegetation after 125 y of recession suggested that much of the soil P was transformed into the biomass P pool. As the N:P ratio for vegetation maintained a low level for 35-125 y of recession, we suggested that N might be the main limiting element for plant growth in the development of this ecosystem.