Understanding native communities is a crucial step for the management of biological nitrogen fixation, since they may be either a source of efficient strains or a limiting factor when efficient strains need to be introduced. This work aimed to evaluate the density, diversity and efficiency of Leguminosae nodulating bacterial (LNB) communities and their component strains in soils under various land use systems (LUSs): pristine forest, agriculture, pasture, agroforestry, young secondary forest, and old secondary forest,. The LNB communities were trapped from these soils by using the promiscuous host siratro under controlled conditions. We also studied their relationships with physical and chemical attributes of the soil. Agroforestry and agriculture soil samples induced the highest number of nodules in siratro, while forest soil samples induced the lowest number of nodules. No relationship was found between LNB and Leguminosae species diversity in the LUSs. The soil chemical variables that were most related to differences in nodule number and shoot dry matter weight of plants inoculated with soil suspensions of the LUSs were, respectively: Ca2+, Mg2+, base saturation, exchangeable bases and Cu2+; and pH, cation exchange capacity, B, Cu2+ and clay. Although, LNB communities from all LUSs were efficient under controlled and similar conditions, they were found to be composed of strains with variable efficiency: inefficient, efficient, highly efficient and superior efficiency. Efficient strains occurred at the highest frequency in all LUSs. The isolated strains presented similar and new sequences that were phylogenetically related to well known LNB genera in α-and β-Proteobacteria. Unusual genera in these branches, as well as in other branches, which are probably endophytic bacteria, were also isolated from nodules. These data support siratro as a useful trap species to study the LNB biodiversity of diverse ecosystems in tropical soils. The fact that the highest diversity and nodulation were seen in managed systems such as agriculture and agroforestry suggests a high resilience of LNB communities to changes in land use after deforestation in a region where large forest areas are still preserved and can be a source of propagules.