Wild Things columnist Eric Brown discusses the threats to our great oak trees and the effects these could have on insects.

My last column about trees and treefelling seems to have touched a raw nerve with readers.

A huge thank-you to all those who left comments on the website version of this column. Your views are always welcome.

Only a few days after the column appeared came news that a Dorset businessman had been hit with a £37,000 bill for chopping 12ft long branches off a 42ft oak tree in his garden.

The tree was under a preservation order and the businessman failed to ask the local authority for permission to cut it back. Poole Council’s inquiry concluded the oak had been “virtually destroyed” to enable more sun to reach the businessman’s house balcony.

WILD THINGS: Stumped why anyone would want to chop down our treasured trees

He pleaded guilty to causing wilful damage to a protected tree and at Bournemouth Crown Court he was fined £1,200 for the offence and required to pay £15,000 costs. Surveyors decided his action had added substantial value to his house. Poole Council used the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure he did not benefit from his illegal action and he was further ordered to pay the taxpayer £21,000 – the estimated increased house value.

This is the first occasion anyone has been dealt with under the Proceeds of Crime Act for damaging a tree to improve light and should act as a warning.

News Shopper:

Oaks provide more shelter for insects than any other UK tree but they have enough to contend with apart from branch-chopping businessmen. The historic trees once used to construct Nelson’s navy are now under threat from oak processionary moths, sudden oak death and bleeding canker.

On February 27 I wrote about a huge decline in pollinating insects and the danger to humans if bees were to die out. Lo and behold exactly a month later a national newspaper ran an article on the same subject, reporting that one third of 300 pollinating species included in a research project suffered population decline.

WILD THINGS: Get on down to this nature reserve to see some amazing creatures

The good news is honeybees last year produced an average 30.8lb of honey per hive – up by a third on the previous year.

Now if that’s not enough to give you a buzz I don’t know what is.