The world's largest tropical rainforest in Brazil's Amazon region suffered record levels of deforestation during the first half of this year.

According to the country's National Institute for Space Research (INPE), 3,750 square kilometers of jungle have disappeared since the beginning of 2022.

These are the worst numbers for that time period since record-keeping began in 2016. The previous worst figure of 3,605 square kilometers was set last year.

The new figure does not even include the final six days of June - a month that saw the worst forest fires in the Amazon in 15 years.

Monthly records were also beaten in January and February, when deforestation is usually lower, and in April.

INPE satellites identified more than 2,500 fires in the Amazon last month, the largest number since more than 3,500 were recorded in June 2007, and an 11% increase over June 2021.

More than 7,500 fires have been recorded since the start of the year, another 17% increase on 2021 and the worst numbers since 2010.

"The dry season has barely begun in the Amazon and already we're beating environmental destruction records," said Cristiane Mazzetti, from Greenpeace Brazil.

Environmentalists and opposition figures accuse the government of President Jair Bolsonaro of implementing policies that encourage big businesses to damage the environment.

"The impact of this negligence will be the increasing loss of the resilience of these surroundings, not to mention the damage done to local communities and health," said Mariana Napolitano, of the Brazilian World Wildlife Fund.

Mr Bolsonaro has encouraged mining and farming activity in protected areas.

Critics also accuse him of supporting impunity for gold prospectors, farmers and logging traffickers involved in illegal deforestation.

Last year, the main government environmental protection body spent only 41% of its surveillance budget, according to the Climate Observatory NGO.