Sulfur cycling in a forested Sphagnum bog in northern Minnesota

N. R. Urban, S. J. Eisenreich, D. F. Grigal

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74 Scopus citations


The mass balance and internal cycle of sulfur within a small forested, Sphagnum bog in northern Minnesota are presented here based on a 4-year record of hydrologic inputs and outputs (precipitation, throughfall, streamflow, upland runoff) and a 3-year measurement of plant growth and sulfur uptake. Concentrations and accumulation rates of inorganic and organic sulfur species were measured in porewater. The bog is a large sink for sulfur, retaining 37% of the total sulfur input. Because of the relatively large export of organic S (21% of inputs), retention efficiency for total-S (organic S + SO 4 = ; 37%) is less than that for SO 4 = (58%). There is a dynamic cycle of oxidation and reduction within the bog. Annual oxidation and recycling of S is equal to total inputs in the center of the bog. Plants receive 47% of their uptake requirement from atmospheric deposition, 5% from retranslocation from foliage, and the remainder from sulfur remineralized from peat. Mineralization is most intense in the aerobic zone above the water table. Inorganic sulfur species comprise <5% of the total sulfur burden within the peat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-109
Number of pages29
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1989


  • nutrient cycle
  • peatland
  • sulfate retention
  • sulfur


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