The destruction of Brazil's Amazon forest, the world's largest intact rain forest, increased by 16 percent in 2015 from a year ago as the government struggles to enforce legislation and stop illegal clearings.

Satellite data for the 12 months through the end of July released on Thursday showed that 5,831 square kilometers (2,251 square miles) of forests were cleared in the Brazilian Amazon, an area half the size of Puerto Rico.

The data released by the environment ministry on Thursday confirmed preliminary information released by environmental institutions recently that were showing an increase in deforestation after a fall seen in 2014.