Deforestation of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil sped up in May to the fastest rate in a decade, according to data from an early-warning satellite system, as experts pointed to activity by illegal loggers encouraged by the easing of environmental protections under President Jair Bolsonaro.

According to the Brazilian space research institute INPE, the DETER alerting system registered deforestation of 739 sq. km (285 sq. miles) in May, the first of three months in which logging tends to surge following the region's rainy season.

That is up from 550 sq. km in May 2018 and more than double the deforestation detected two years earlier.