The project

Reason for this project

The Loonse and Drunense Dunes is one of the 160 Nature 2000 areas that are located in The Netherlands. The Netherlands, just like all the other European union members, signed a agreement in which they promise to the whole European Union that every Natura 2000 area will be well maintained and protected from harm. In the Netherlands the province is assigned with this task. Which means in this case that the province of North Brabant is tasked with protecting the dune landscape of which the Loonse and Drunense Dunes consist of. 

In the case of the Loonse and Drunense dunes certain types of vegetation species are under pressure due to external issues. Low nutrient vegetation is decreasing due to the an increased succession rate, of which the reason why this happening is yet unknown. Natuurmonumenten, a non-governmental organization, which is assignment with the management of the Loonse and Drunense dunes excepts that nitrogen deposition is playing a big part in this problem. This can be caused by the surrounding farms, industry's, highways or cities which are all located nearby the national park. They want to find out if this is indeed the case.

Natuurmonumenten together with the province of North Brabant is looking for solution to solve this problem and preserve the protected habitat types and vegetation. In the past couple of years measurements have been taken such as removing the top soil, removing trees and removing saplings. Both parties want to know if these management types have been working out, and they are looking for possible other ways to combat the problems. That is why they asked Avans Hogeschool and the minor Environmental Geography to write them an advice that contains these two points of concerns.

In addition to these two tasks the project group is also tasked to map the research area and create a GIS map containing all the vegetation types. This map can than later be used to compare the map with previous years, to indicate the growth or decrease of certain vegetation types to show possible vulnerable areas. Also Atlas Natuur Capitaal (ANC) wants to use the GIS map to check if their maps are accurate or not.

Project goals

 For this project there are multiple clients with different requests. The main goal of the project is from Nature Monuments:

  • Create a monitoring plan, regarding the vegetation of low nutrient requiring plants, to visualize causes and effects of succession in the Natura 2000 area Drunen National Park.
  • Create a management plan, which new management type or combination of existing management types can be carried out to ensure the "Goal vegetation" for this Natura 2000 area.

The sub-goals for this project are from both the RIVM, which is responsible for policy advice and doing research and gathering data, and the province Noord-Brabant. These sub-goals both contain GIS and promotional work:

  • The goal will be to create a GIS layer of the vegetation from the study area and compare it with previous GIS data.
  • Write an advice report for the RIVM regarding the GIS layer, and give a presentation about it on the ANC day (18th April).
  • Promotional work (blog and social media) for both RIVM and province Noord-Brabant regarding the research and the Dunes of Loon and Drunen Notional park.


avans provincie Noord-Brabant Natuurmonumenten RIVM