stylosanthes spp. cv. campo grande is a legume recommended for the recovery of degraded areas of pasture, however there is little information about its development in compacted soils. the aim of the present study therefore was to evaluate the development of stylosanthes cv. campo grande at different density levels of a eutroferric oxisol (lvef). the experiment was carried out in a greenhouse from september 2007 to march 2008. experimental design was completely randomized, and treatments consisted of five levels of sub-surface soil compaction (1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 mg m-3) with four replications. the experimental units were pots made from overlapping pvc rings. in the soil under study (lvef), maximum growth of stylosanthes cv. campo grande occurs at a soil density of around 1.27 mg m-3; soil densities above 1.00 mg m-3 limit the root development of this legume.