Mato Grosso ( – lit. "Thick Bushes") is one of the states of Brazil, the third-largest by area, located in the western part of the country.
Neighboring states are (from west clockwise) Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins, Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul. The nation of Bolivia is located to the southwest. A state with a flat landscape, alternating great chapadas and plain areas, Mato Grosso has three different ecosystems: Cerrado, Pantanal and the Amazon Rainforest. The vegetation of the open pasture covers 40% of the state.
The Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, with caves, grottoes, tracks, and waterfalls, is one of its tourist attractions. In the north is the Amazonian forest, with a biodiversity originally covering half of the state. Much of this has been disrupted and cleared for logging, agricultural purposes, and pastures. The Xingu National Park and the Araguaia River are in Mato Grosso. Further south, the Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, is the habitat for nearly one thousand species of animals, and many aquatic birds.
Located in the Mato Grosso is the Chapada dos Guimarães, a unique environment of sandstone mountains that have eroded into amazingly varied terrain. The terrain of the Mato Grosso is varied and includes cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls.
The biologically rich Pantanal, one of the world's largest wetland/prairie ecosystems, is also located within this state. Much environmental degradation has occurred to the Pantanal since the late 20th century because of development, and efforts to contain or slow it have had limited success. The Pantanal has a habitat similar to that of the Everglades in Florida in the United States, although the Pantanal is on a much larger scale.