The aim of this study was to determine the differences in cellulolytic activity of soils around the coastal lowlands of the southwestern part of Wedel Jarlsberg Land (west Spitsbergen). Two positions (Calypso and Skilvika) representing typical soil types in this area were chosen for investigation. Within the area of Calypso, arctic brown soils formed from loamy sands with a significant addition of coarser gravel and pebble fractions occur. The Skilvika position represents the arctic gley soils of a loamy texture, with significant content of silt, associated with the occurrence of cell grounds created under the strong influence of cryogenic processes. Cellulolytic activity of the soils was determined by a gravimetric method involving estimation of a weight loss of cellulosic material buried in the surface soil horizons. The investigation showed significant differences in the cellulose decomposition rate between the two research locations. The cellulolytic activity of arctic brown soils –0,412–0,656 g*g−1*year−1 during the vegetation season (Olson's k = 0,231–0,563), was twice higher than the activity in the case of Skilvika gley soils –0,185–0,310g*g−1*year−1 during vegetation season (k = 0,089–0,131). This should be attributed, among other factors, to the grain size distribution, thereby determining more favourable water-air conditions of soils within the area of Calypso.