What do you think of when you hear Alaska?
Pristine white landscapes, the bears, Northern Lights, Into the Wild or even Sarah Palin… we get the picture. But gardens?
Welcome to Arctic Alaska, where the foxes aren’t just endearingly cute, but they are also nature’s best gardeners.
In an otherwise bleak & brown summer landscape, Arctic foxes have been found to add a dash of yellow to break the melancholic monotony. These wildflower gardens present such a stark contrast on the tundra that scientists who recently published the first scientific study on the dens have dubbed the foxes “ecosystem engineers.”
With temperatures dipping to sub-zero, these Arctic foxes have only one way to take shelter and protect their cubs from harsh winters — by digging their dens underground.
The foxes deposit high amounts of nutrients in and around their dens, a combination of urination, defecation, and leftover kills. This leads to vibrant yellow wildflowers popping up from their dens, coloring the otherwise gray landscape.
Such picturesque dens occur throughout the Arctic and they help the eco-system by creating a greater plant diversity from which herbivores can benefit during short summers.
Take a cue from these furry foxes, how about kick-starting a brand new week by planting a sapling at home or getting an indoor plant for your desk?