MSc thesis topic: The Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) in the Netherlands: preventing the adverse ecological and public health impacts from the OPM

In 2019 there was a large outbreak of oak processionary moth (OPM) in the Netherlands. People that touch or breathe in poisonous hairs (setae) of the OPM often experience a reaction of the skin or mucous membranes. A small percentage of people develop a dangerous allergic reaction. With climate change it is expected that these will become more frequent in the future if nothing is done. The OPM therefore presents landowners and managers with challenges to ensure safety around trees, whilst ensuring that damage to biodiversity is minimized.

To support landowners and managers to make responsible prevention and control decisions, there is a Dutch national processionary moth guideline and a national Knowledge platform. However, there are still many questions about the OPM. For example, outbreaks of the OPM are often unpredictable, the impact of control measures on the OPM and on the environment/biodiversity is unclear and there are also questions about nitrogen deposition and the effect on the OPM. In this study you focus on the OPM problems in a specific municipality or region. Since there are still many questions about the spread and impact of the OPM you can choose a focus of research that is in line with your interests as a GIS specialist. Your research could involve (but is not limited to); (i) finding spatial and temporal relationships between outbreaks and measures, including changes in biodiversity (data example land use, nitrogen, weather, butterfly-maps (NL:vlinderkaarten))  (ii) comparing two municipalities (or provinces) to find effects of measures taken in order to prevent and/or control outbreaks or, (iii) etcetera


  • Find spatial & temporal relationships between outbreaks and measures
  • Comparing two municipalities (with different implemented measures)
  • Spatially linking effect (/cost-effectiveness) of measures on health of inhabitants


Theme(s): Modelling & visualisation; Empowering & engaging communities