Damaturu- Gum Arabic Farmers and Marketers Association in Yobe said over N700 million worth of gum arabic trees and the product were lost annually to firewood poachers in the state.
Jafaru Ayuba, Spokesman of the association, disclosed this on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Damaturu.
Ayuba explained that, gum arabic trees were indiscriminately cut down by firewood sellers coming into the state from the neighbouring states.
"There were cases of chemicals sprayed on the economic trees to force them to dry up and cut down for firewood.
"Sadly, the lost trees were never replaced because the farmers were discouraged and threatened by activities of the firewood merchants."
The spokesman noted that about 15 000 gum arabic farmers were loosing their means of livelihood to illegal tree felling in the state.
The association called on the Yobe Government to apply the full weight of the law on illegal tree felling so as to safeguard gum arabic and other economic trees.
The farmers, however, appealed to the state government to assist them with seedlings.
"There are good seedlings from Sudan that are suitable to the environment here, we therefore urge the Yobe Government to assist us with these seedlings to enable us replant the trees," he said.
Yobe Government last month constituted a task force to enforce all environmental laws which include illegal felling of trees, bush burning and poaching of animals among others.