Introduction: The biogeographic Chocó presents an exuberant diversity of arboreal species; however, it is unknown that soils determine this diversity. Objective: it was evaluated how edaphic conditions explain the diversity and arboreal dominance in tropical pluvial forests in this locality. Methods: Seven permanent research plots were established in the forests of Opogodó, Pacurita and Salero. In these plots, tree diversity and dominance were measured, and edaphic conditions such as organic matter (OM), acidity, nutrients and texture were determined. Results: It was found that the diversity was much greater in Salero and Pacurita; but the dominance was greater in Opogodó. The diversity was positively related to phosphorus, aluminum, silt and clay; while, with pH, OM, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sand, the relationship was negative. On the other hand, dominance was negatively related to P and Al; while, the relationship was positive with pH, OM, Ca and sand. Conclusions: it was corroborated that the arboreal diversity is negatively related to some variables (Ca, Mg, K) of edaphic fertility. Apparently, edaphic infertility, acidity and aluminum toxicity, determine tree dynamics and diversity.