Soils were studied on the islands of Guadalcanal, Kolombangara, Santa Isabel, San Jorge, and San Cristobal, mainly under tropical rain forest in mountainous inland regions. The climate of the Solomon Islands is characterized by high temperatures and humidity, copious rain and a high proportion of cloudy days, with little seasonal variation except in the rainfall of the central coastal region of northern Gaudalcanal. In the areas studied soils on stable sites are deep, and intensely weathered and leached. On steep slopes soils are shallow and unstable, with much colluvial rock debris. Most soils are strongly acid to acid (pH 3 to 5) clays and have very low plant nutrient contents. On soils from basic igneous and ultrabasic metamorphic rocks weathering and leaching have resulted in loss of virtually all of the more readily weatherable constituents and extreme relative accumulation of oxides, principally of aluminium, iron and titanium. Rendzinas are found on recently exposed coral limestone, but older limestone areas have strongly leached soils similar to those on basic igneous rocks. The Solomons soils are related to similar soils in Hawaii, Western Samoa, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia, the West Indies and south-east Asia. In general the most strongly leached Solomons soils have reached a stage of degradation beyond that of similar soils described from other regions. There is apparently an almost closed organic cycle of nutrient turn-over under rain forest, with most of the available plant nutrients concentrated in organic-matter-enriched surface soil horizons and with little contribution to plant growth from underlying mineral horizons. There is little evidence of close relationships between soils and vegetation, except in soils derived from serpentine which have a forest dominated by Casuarina papuana. Large-scale destruction by fire of Casuarina forest on soils from serpentine has resulted in loss of surface horizons by erosion, failure of the forest to regenerate, and formation of laterite on the bare soil surface. Small-scale destruction of forest for native gardens appears to have little long-term effect on soils or vegetation. 'Soil' animals are usually confined to logs and other above-ground habitats and are rare in the soil, apparently due to the extreme wetness and probably partial anaerobiosis of below-ground habitats.