Downloads Humusvormen

On this page an overview is given of a number of files that can be helpful with the description and interpretation of the humus form profile.

Field guide humus forms

You can download here the English translation of the Field Guide Humus Forms as pdf-file (19 Mb).  In this field guide the role of the organic matter cycle in the ecosystem and the way the organic matter cycle expresses itself in the humus form profile are discussed. You can also find instuctions about the best way to describe the humus form profile, which horizons to distinguish and how these horizons relate to the environmental factors. This field guide also deals with the classification of the humus form profiles into humus form types. In order to do so a classification key is included. This field guide is meant for a wide spread public. For a good understanding a glossary is included. In this first revision of the guide remarks of users are processed and some relevant mistakes are corrected. If you want to see the remarks made click here (in Dutch). This first revision is only available in digital form and not as a printed document.

The English edition of the field guide can be ordered by transfering € 15 to the bankaccount number 36 70 54 612 in the name of Alterra, Wageningen, with reference to 'Field guide humus forms'. This price is V.A.T. and sending costs (within the Netherlands) included. (For more details: +31 317 477766 or


Keys of determination

The keys of determination from the first revision of the filed guide can be downloaded as a separate pdf -file (46 Kb). Convenient for use in the field!

Form for profile describtion

The form for profile describtion is mentioned in the field guide as a usefull tool for the description of humus form profiles. This form for profile description can be downloaded as a separate pdf-file (32 Kb). The characteristics mentioned in this form are clarified in the filed guide.

Tables for classification into humus forms

The classification of the humus form types is summarized into to two tables. These tables are not included in the field guide. The classification is based on characteristics as the appearance and thickness of the horizons, the texture and calcium content of the parent material and the appearance of gley symptoms within the first 25 cm below the soil surface. In the tables these characteristics are indicated for each humus form type. The first table concerns the description of humus forms on the level of order, suborder and group (in Dutch). The second table concerns the description of humus forms on the level of Group, subgroup and fase (in Dutch).

Determinationprogram 'Humus forms'

An other aid for the classification of humus form profiles into humus forms is the program´Humusvormen' (voor MS-Access versie 97) (in Dutch) or 'Humusvormen' (voor MS-Access versie 2000) (in Dutch). Characteristics of the humus form profile can be imported in the program by means of a screen. The program than decides which humus forms the humus form profile can belongs to. Giving more characteristics results in a smaller choice of humus forms until at last one humus form remains.

description of the humus forms program is given in:

Buis, E. en S. P. J. van Delft, 2003. Handleiding Humusvormen 1; Een programma ter classificatie van humusvormen vanuit de Ecologische Bodemtypering, Wageningen, Alterra. Alterra-rapport 708. (in Dutch)