This is a different kind of forest, hidden in plain sight and far more threatened than the Amazon. Known as the Cerrado, it is the largest, most biologically diverse savannah region of South America, home to five percent of all life on the planet.
But industrial farming is fast swallowing this unique landscape. And its rapid transformation is creating a ticking carbon bomb that scientists warn could significantly affect the global carbon cycle if the current rate of destruction continues.
This enormous expanse in central Brazil was once as impenetrable as the deepest rainforest, so isolated that Portuguese settlers dubbed it Cerrado, or "closed". Today, roads connect the Cerrado's southern boundary in the São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul states with its northern limits some 2,400 kilometres away near the Atlantic coast. Yet the Cerrado is still largely unknown, even in Brazil.
- READ MORE