Brazil is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 211 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the sixth most populous.
Brazil's large territory comprises different ecosystems, such as the Amazon rainforest, recognized as having the greatest biological diversity in the world, with the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado, sustaining the greatest biodiversity. In the south, the Araucaria pine forest grows under temperate conditions. The rich wildlife of Brazil reflects the variety of natural habitats. Scientists estimate that the total number of plant and animal species in Brazil could approach four million, mostly invertebrates.
Larger mammals include carnivores pumas, jaguars, ocelots, rare bush dogs, and foxes, and herbivores peccaries, tapirs, anteaters, sloths, opossums, and armadillos. Deer are plentiful in the south, and many species of New World monkeys are found in the northern rain forests. Concern for the environment has grown in response to global interest in environmental issues. Brazil's Amazon Basin is home to an extremely diverse array of fish species, including the red-bellied piranha.
By 2013, Brazil's 'dramatic policy-driven reduction in Amazon Basin deforestation' was a 'global exception in terms of forest change', according to scientific journal Science.: 852 From 2003 to 2011, compared to all other countries in the world, Brazil had the 'largest decline in annual forest loss', as indicated in the study using high-resolution satellite maps showing global forest cover changes.: 850 The annual loss of forest cover decreased from a 2003–2004 record high of more than 40,000 square kilometers to a 2010–2011 low of under 20,000 square kilometers,: 850 reversing widespread deforestation: 852 from the 1970s to 2003.
In 2017, preserved native vegetation occupies 61% of the Brazilian territory. Agriculture occupied only 8% of the national territory and pastures 19.7%. In terms of comparison, in 2019, although 43% of the entire European continent has forests, only 3% of the total forest area in Europe is of native forest.