The world’s largest tropical rainforest is so vast it grows in eight countries and one French overseas territory. It plays a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide and stabilising global temperatures.

But for Brazil’s nationalist leader Jair Bolsonaro, who opened the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, the Amazon has become something else: a battleground for his cultural war against the left and liberalism in general.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now