Assuming that trees are not conscious, is there anything morally wrong with cutting down a tree that has survived for a thousand years?

It is most certainly not true that non-conscious things can be destroyed without reason, or just for the reason that they are not conscious. What is wrong with slashing or burning a Rembrandt painting? The answer is not that there is nothing wrong, because the painting is not conscious, but that there are many things wrong, including aesthetic ones, and historical ones, and the fact that the painting does not belong to to the slasher. Of course it would be even worse if the painting were conscious. And even if it belongs to the one who destroys it, it is unclear that he has the right to destroy it. A question might still arise. Is the painting part of the national heritage? This sort of consideration is relevant with Grade I, II* and II listed buildings in the U.K. Or what would be wrong with burning the only Penny Black remaining in the world just for kicks? About the 1000 year-old tree, now. The mere fact that it has survived for that long, for nearly 1000 years since the Norman Conquest, to put it in perspective, should give one pause. Then there is the fact that the tree may be a thing of majesty and beauty. There is also its place in the ecosystem. Is it a vanishing species? Or perhaps it is a home for many other species, and not just squirrels, which can be a pest, but birds, for example. What happens to such dependent species? There is also the general question of deforestation to consider. So the reasons for which it might be morally wrong to destroy it are virtually endless.

Read another response by Jonathan Westphal
Read another response about Environment, Ethics