This paper presents carbon isotope data measured in three soil profiles from the Salitre area, Central Brazil. The study forms part of a research project on tropical and subtropical soils in Brazil, in which the main objective is to use carbon isotopes to provide information about vegetation changes that have occurred in relation to climate changes during the Holocene. 14C data from charcoal samples and soil organic matter (SOM) indicate that the organic matter in the soils studied is of Holocene age at least. Furthermore, the presence of a significant amount of charcoal in the soils suggests that forest fire was a significant ocurrence during the Holocene and probably had an important role in determining the dynamics of forest vegetation in the study area. Correspondingly, 13C data indicate that C3 plants provided the dominant vegetation of the study area, even during the dry periods when savanna vegetation is supposed to have replaced the forest communities. This study contributes to our better understanding of the relation between climatic changes and vegetation in the subtropical region of Brazil.