Recent Controlled Burns in Forest Park Improve 17.5 Acres of Wildlife Habitat

Thanks to the collaboration between Forest Park Forever, the City of St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, the City of St. Louis Fire Department, the Missouri Department of Conservation, DJM Ecological Services Inc. and many other individuals, two days of successful controlled burns were recently performed in Forest Park.

On March 30 and 31, 2015, Forest Park Forever and DJM Ecological Services, with funding support from the Missouri Department of Conservation, teamed up to conduct a controlled burn of several different sites in Forest Park. In all, approximately 17.5 acres of wildlife habitat were burned, the largest acreage burned in a single season since these began in the Park in 2011.

The areas burned include a large portion of the Deer Lake Savanna, nearly half of Hidden Creek Savanna, riparian habitat on Picnic Island and grasslands used for bird habitat at both the Norman K. Probstein and the Highlands Golf Courses. These wildlife habitat burns have several benefits, including:

  • Acting as a treatment to help control the negative impacts of invasive and exotic species, like Bush Honeysuckle; 
  • Enabling an influx of nutrients to reach the soils, now that previous dead vegetation debris has been burned away and sunlight can reach the soil more readily;
  • Helping these re-energized native species grow more quickly and bloom more brightly this spring and summer.

The timing of the controlled burn was such that most native plants should see the same emergence, leaf-out and bloom times as normal or perhaps even slightly sooner.

Thanks to all of the organizations and Park visitors who help to support these efforts and came out to watch and ask questions. Forest Park Forever would like to urge everyone to keep an eye on these areas this growing season and return regularly to see how quickly the native vegetation and wildlife recover and flourish after these exciting burn events. 

Any additional questions can be sent to Peter VanLinn, Park Ecologist with Forest Park Forever: or (314) 932-5950.