The Atlantic Forest, also known as the Mata Atlântica in Portuguese, is a South American forest that extends along the Atlantic coast of Brazil, from the northeast state of Rio Grande do Norte to the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul and extends inward to Paraguay and the Misiones Province of Argentina, where it is known as the Selva Misionera.
The Atlantic Forest encompasses various ecoregions within the categories of seasonal moist and dry broad-leaf tropical forests, tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, shrublands, and mangrove forests.
This forest is renowned for its high biodiversity and endemism, and was the first environment encountered by Portuguese colonists over 500 years ago. At that time, the Atlantic Forest was believed to have an area of 1,000,000-1,500,000 km2 and stretched an unknown distance inland, making it the second largest rainforest on the planet, surpassed only by the Amazon rainforest.
Sadly,over 85% of the original forest has since been deforested, putting many plant and animal species at risk of extinction.