Ground contact speeds up timber decay because of the large number of microorganisms in soil. This study, we assessed the natural durability of seven tropical species using the European standard EN-807 (2001). We embedded samples of Dalbergia granadillo, Cordia elaeagnoides, Swietenia humillis, Tabebuia donell-smithii, Hura polyandra, Enterolobium cyclocarpum and Tabebuia rosea and temperate species Fagus sylvatica (as a control) in sandy, clay-sandy-loam and clay-loam for 8, 16, 24 and 32 weeks. We evaluated durability of the samples by determining the mass loss and modulus of elasticity (MOE) loss. The results varied significantly (p < 0,001) depending on timber species and soil type considered. The D. granadillo and C. elaeagnoides were the most durable, with mass losses of 4,5%; 6,5% and MOE losses of 4,5%; 20,5%; respectively. F. sylvatica, T. rosea and E. cyclocarpum samples were the least durable, with mass losses of 22,3-25% and MOE losses of 35,8-59,8% respectively. Decay was most aggressive in sandy-clay-loam soil followed by the clay-loam soil and finally the sandy soil.