Landform Selection and Soil Modifications Associated with Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) Den Sites in Yukon Territory, Canada
C. A. S. Smith, C. M. M. Smits, B. G. Slough
Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) dens were examined in the unglaciated portion of the Yukon Coastal Plain and on Herschel Island. Den site selection relative to landform type was evaluated for 65 dens. On the Yukon Coastal Plain foxes established dens on sandy fluvial and wind-modified (dunes) fluvial deposits almost exclusively. On Herschel Island, moderately eroded landscapes were selected over noneroded, slightly eroded, and wetland terrain. The use of terrain maps proved to be useful in defining suitable den habitat. Chemical and physical properties of soil were compared on and immediately adjacent to 25 dens. Mean values for soil temperature, depth to permafrost, soil particle size, pH, N, and exchangable K were significantly different (P < 0.05) between on-den and off-den samples in both study areas. Total carbon, total phosphorous, and C:N were significantly different on Herschel Island but not on the Yukon Coastal Plain. The role of foxes in modifying soil chemical and physical properties is discussed relative to differences inherited through the parent material properties.
Citation Note: This article was published when our journal had an earlier shorter name: "Arctic and Alpine Research."