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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...

It has been suggested that the practice of Bonsai is an expression of animal chauvinism and does great harm to a tree by 'stunting' it. But aren't trees not sentient beings, and therefore the excising of branches, shoots and roots such that the tree thrives albeit substantially smaller than its genetic potential, is no different to the continual loss of roots, shoots and branches that occur under natural conditions?

There is the fact that it is possible to treat something badly or to damage it, whether or not it is sentient. A pair of shoes can be badly or well looked after, and it is wrong not to look after a good pair of shoes properly. A living thing like a hedge can be properly maintained or attended to, but something more is involved. Sometimes, it seems to me, the aesthetics of the "art object" (horrible phrase) can reflect what it actually is. So it is natural to trim a box hedge in one way, and a mixed hedge in another way, perhaps a less formal and more undulating, the shapes reflecting the different kinds of growth - hawthorn, or privet or beech. (A hedge that is full of straggly and unwanted sycamore looks awful, and the holes soon begin to show.) Pugs and poodles may be perfectly happy qua sentient beings, though often there are specific health problems with specific breeds, but it is perfectly coherent to object to the whole process of breeding and thinking of living things as being objects for our use ...