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Panama's anti-narcotics personnel prepare to incinerate 26.2 tons of seized cocaine and marijuana at the Bayano's River mouth area, outskirts of Panama City, on Sept. 20. LUIS ACOSTA / AFP / Getty Images

The cocaine trade and efforts to combat it, including the U.S.-led war on drugs, are helping to drive deforestation in Central America, new research shows.

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Jair Bolsonaro pictured at a presidential debate in Brasilia, Brazil June 6, 2018. REUTERS / Adriano Machado / CC BY-NC 2.0

Despite confirmation this week that the deforestation rate in the Amazon rainforest is at its highest in more than a decade, far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to take the problem seriously.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The deforestation rate in Brazil's Amazon rainforest is at its highest in more than a decade, CNN reported Tuesday.

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Indonesian firefighters battle a forest fire, one of many spewing toxic haze across the region causing an increase in reports of respiratory illnesses, in Kampar, Riau on Sept. 23. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

By Sakinah Ummu Haniy, Hidayah Hamzah and Mirzha Hanifah

Indonesia's forest fires have made headlines globally over the past few weeks. This year's forest fires have affected millions of people. Schools have closed in some areas due to unsafe levels of air pollution, while many people are suffering from respiratory illnesses. The haze has spread so far as to affect Singapore and Malaysia.

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Brazil from space. Harvepino / iStock / Getty Images

Norway has urged its companies that actively do business in Brazil to make sure that they are not contributing to destruction of the Amazon rainforest, as Reuters reported.

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The Paraguayan Chaco, South America's second largest forest, is rapidly disappearing as agriculture extends deeper into what was once forest. Here, isolated stands of trees remain amid the farms.

Joel E. Correia / CC BY-NC-ND

By Joel E. Correia

The fires raging across the Brazilian Amazon have captured the world's attention. Meanwhile, South America's second-largest forest, the Gran Chaco, is disappearing in plain sight.

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The huge surge this year in Amazon deforestation is leading some European countries to think twice about donations to the Amazon Fund. LeoFFreitas / Moment / Getty Images

By Sue Branford and Thais Borges

Ola Elvestrun, Norway's environment minister, announced Thursday that it is freezing its contributions to the Amazon Fund, and will no longer be transferring €300 million ($33.2 million) to Brazil. In a press release, the Norwegian embassy in Brazil stated:

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A spectacular wide view of the 82-foot-high Juruena waterfall, part of a corridor of Brazil's protected areas, on May 4, 2016 in the Amazon Rainforest. Contributor / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

Germany said Saturday it would suspend aid to Brazil aimed at helping protect the Amazon forest in light of the stark increase in rainforest clearings since President Jair Bolsonaro took office.

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Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, near Manaus the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Neil Palmer / CIAT / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Right-wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro's administration has pushed pause on monitoring industry in protected areas of the Amazon, the New York Times reports.

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Two palm oil plantations in Peru supplanting primary forest.

Environmental Investigation Agency

By Genevieve Belmaker

Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.

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Aerial view of deforestation in the Western Amazon region of Brazil on Sept. 22, 2017. CARL DE SOUZA / AFP / Getty Images

The Amazon rainforest in Brazil is being clear cut so rapidly — a rate of three football fields per minute — that it is approaching a "tipping point" from which it will not recover, according to the Guardian.

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Newly established oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.

It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."

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Guardians of the Forest monitor passersby entering Juracal Village in Araribóia Indigenous Reserve, Maranhão, Brazil on Aug. 8, 2015. Bonnie Jo Mount / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Two indigenous leaders were killed in a drive-by shooting in Northeast Brazil Saturday, and two others were injured.

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Aerial picture showing smoke from a fire billowing from the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil, on Aug. 23. CARL DE SOUZA / AFP / Getty Images

If current deforestation rates in the Amazon rainforest continue, the forest could be two years away from the "tipping point" after which it will no longer be able to sustain itself by making its own rain.

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View of an Ivorian cleared forest at the edge of the 35.000 hectares Peko Mont National Park on Oct. 8, 2016. The Mont Péko National Park is located in the west of Ivory Coast where the forest officers fight with illegal immigrants to protect an exceptional flora and fauna, espacially dwarf elephants. SIA KAMBOU / AFP / Getty Images
Climate activists demonstrate against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Barcelona on Aug. 23. LLUIS GENE / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

In an open letter to Brazilian society and right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, a group of experts warned that a "genocide is underway" against uncontacted tribes because of Bolsonaro's efforts to strip away Indigenous peoples' rights and lands and open up more of the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness and mining.

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Balinese people ride on an open car past Mount Agung erupting on Nov. 27, 2017. SONNY TUMBELAKA / AFP / Getty Images

Scientists have done the math, and human activities like burning fossil fuels and clearing forests generate as much as 100 times the carbon emissions of volcanic eruptions every year, AFP reported Tuesday.

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© Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro angrily rejected $22 million international aid offered by the G7 this week as fires burning in the Amazon continue to wreak havoc in the rainforest.

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Handout picture released by the Colombian presidency showing Colombian President Ivan Duque (2-L) speaking next to Bolivian President Evo Morales (L) and in front of Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo (2-R) and Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno (R), during a meeting with Indigenous leaders before the Presidential Summit for the Amazon at the National University in Leticia, department of Amazonas, Colombia, on Sept. 6. NICOLAS GALEANO / AFP / Getty Images

Seven Amazon countries signed a pact Friday to protect the world's largest tropical rainforest in response to the record-breaking number of wildfires that have blazed through the Amazon rainforest this summer, Reuters reported.

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Coccoloba gigantifolia leaves can reach 2.5 meters (8 feet) in length. Rogério Gribel

By Shreya Dasgupta

At the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) in Manaus, Brazil, a framed exhibit of a massive dried leaf has been a local attraction for decades. But the complete identity of the tree it belongs to remained unresolved — until now.

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