In northeastern Brazil (Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba,Pernambuco, and Bahia), the Zona da Mata (in Portuguese, "forest zone") refers to the narrow coastal plain between the Atlantic Ocean and the dry regions of the agreste and sertão.
The zona da mata consists of a narrow plain, generally about fifty kilometres wide and very flat and low (below 100 metres in elevation), below the northeastern edge of the Brazilian Highlands. The climate is hot and wet, with most rain coming from the southeasterly winds between April and July. Annual rainfall generally totals between 1300 and 2000 millimetres, with averages in June as high as 300 millimetres.
Because the climate and soil of the zona da mata are excellent for the production of sugar cane, very little of the original Atlantic Rainforest vegetation remains. Most of the major cities of northeastern Brazil, including Recife, Salvador, Maceió and João Pessoa, are located in the zona da mata.