Center-West of Brazil
The Center-West consists of the states of Goiás, Mato Grosso,
and Mato Grosso do Sul (separated from Mato Grosso in 1979), as
well as the Federal District, site of Brasília, the national
capital. Until 1988 Goiás State included the area that then
became the state of Tocantins in the North.
The Center-West has 1,612,077 square kilometers and covers 18.9
percent of the national territory. Its main biome is the cerrado
, the tropical savanna in which natural grassland is partly covered
with twisted shrubs and small trees. The cerrado was used for low-density
cattle-raising in the past but is now also used for soybean production.
There are gallery forests along the rivers and streams and some
larger areas of forest, most of which have been cleared for farming
and livestock. In the north, the cerrado blends into tropical forest.
It also includes the Pantanal wetlands in the west, known for their
wildlife, especially aquatic birds and caymans. In the early 1980s,
33.6 percent of the region had been altered by anthropic activities,
with a low of 9.3 percent in Mato Grosso and a high of 72.9 percent
in Goiás (not including Tocantins). In 1996 the Center-West
region had 10.2 million inhabitants, or 6 percent of Brazil's total
population. The average density is low, with concentrations in and
around the cities of Brasília, Goiânia, Campo Grande,
and Cuiabá. Living standards are below the national average.
In 1994 they were highest in the Federal District, with per capita
income of US$7,089 (the highest in the nation), and lowest in Mato
Grosso, with US$2,268.
Data as of April 1997