An ecologist, Mr Abdullahi Aremu, on Thursday, called for a law that would mandate those who fell trees for firewood and other commercial purposes to replace them by replanting in order to reduce deforestation.

Aremu, who is the Director-General, Advocacy for Environmental and Sanitation Integrity, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), made this call in an interview with the Nigerian Pilot in Abuja.

“Observation shows that many people, especially rural women, have resorted into cutting down trees for use as firewood, owing to the high price of kerosene nowadays.

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“The National Assembly should enact a legislation to mandate these people to replace trees with the ones they cut for commercial purposes,’’ he said.

Aremu, who described deforestation as a negative environmental phenomenon, said a major cause of deforestation was the chopping down of trees for domestic and commercial use.

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He stressed that trees were very important to the ecosystem, as they absorbed the harmful carbon dioxide and released the life-sustaining oxygen into the atmosphere, thus acting as human natural friends.

Aremu said that trees absorbed water in large quantities during heavy rains, adding that due to large-scale deforestation, there were fewer trees around to absorb and retain water.

He explained that this had led to heavy floods, causing heavy losses of life and property.

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“The tree is necessary for rain; it creates cold and humid atmosphere required for the rain. Whenever it rains, trees hold the water and somewhat prevents floods.

“Trees provide food for humans and animals; if we continue to cut down trees indiscriminately, our action will definitely affect our rainfall patterns,” Aremu said.