Bahia is the fifth state of the country in territorial extension and represents 36,3% of the total area of the Brazilian Northeast and 6,64% of the national territory. From the 564.692,67 km² area, around 68,7% are in the semi-arid region, while the seashore which is the largest in Brazil, measures 1.183km, shelters different kinds of ecosystems and favors tourism with its rare beauty.
The tropical climate predominates all over Bahia, presenting distinctions only in relation to precipitation rates in each of the different regions. Some of Bahia’s regions, such as the sertão, have a semi-arid climate. On the seashore and in Ilhéus’ region, humidity is higher, and rain rates may surpass 1.500mm annually.
With 561.026 km² located on the seashore, Bahia’s relief is characterized by the presence of lowlands, plateaus and depressions. Marked by quite low altitudes, the highest point of Bahia is represented by Almas Peak, located at Almas sierra, with around 1.958 meters. The tablelands and plains present in the relief show that erosion worked in search for tabular forms. The plateaus occupy almost the entire state, presenting a series of tablelands, from where the rivers cross, coming from Chapada Diamantina, Espinhaço Sierra, which springs in the center of Minas Gerais, going to the north of the state, and the Chapada Diamantina itself, of tabular shape, marking its limits in the north and in the east. The semi-arid plateau, located in the Brazilian sertão is characterized by low altitudes. The relief that predominates in Bahia is depression. The lowlands are located in the seashore region, where the altitude is never higher than 200 meters. There, we find beaches, dunes, sand banks and even swamps. The further we go towards the inland, the more we see terrains with relatively fertile soils, where hills stretch towards the ocean.
Bahia has three different types of vegetation. The caatinga (type of stunted spare forest found in drought areas) predominates over the humid tropical forest and the cerrado (woods composed of stunted twisted trees, growing on cattle-grazing land). The caatinga can be found in the entire north region, at the depression area of São Francisco, and at the Espinhaço Sierra, leaving the occidental part for the cerrado and for the humid tropical forest, the southeast. In the countryside the drought seasons are more accentuated, with the exception of the region of São Francisco valley. At Espinhaço sierra, temperatures are mild and agreeable. The pluviometric rates in sertão are very low, and sometimes they don’t reach 500mm per year; there are long periods of draught in the region.