[–] Nasrin [OP] 4 points (+4|-0) Edited

I'm looking at this from the angle that they're:

  1. Removing old trees that have formed their own mini biome where they're planted.
  2. Hoarding and consolidating plants deemed worthwhile into the hands of a small group at the disadvantage of the local community.
  3. Leading to the further explosion of things like this as people try to get in on the "game":

The high-stakes world of rare-plant theft

Thief ravages Kaneohe greenhouse, stealing rare native Hawaiian plants

Yanked from the ground: cactus theft is ravaging the American desert

Bonsai theft: Japanese couple robbed of 400-year-old tree

Considering what weird shit the wealthy could and can do, giving insane amounts of money to ordinary people for their trees is not the worst.

Solid point! I didn't think of it that way due to the above.

Perhaps one of them will one day finance a giant nature-reserve and pay money so no one disturbs it.

Maybe I'm just bitter, especially so as where I live people steal rare show growing trees and plants often, but isn't that what botanical gardens and nature reserves are already for? When I think of the rich with nature reserves, I think of things like "The Kings Forest". Or do you mean no one could ever enter it including the rich person who set it up?

Food for thought and I appreciate your perspective!

ETA: Fixing links cause I am bad at linking.

[–] WholeGrain 3 points (+3|-0)

Those are some very good points to make. It sounded like they were just buying people's random- but in their mind perfect- trees. Not any specific rare trees, but rather ones with an appealing shape, backing off if they can't buy it:

Others have a sentimental attachment to the tree. “Sometimes they wouldn’t sell it for a million dollars,” he said. “Sometimes their grandmother planted it or they planted it for their dad or something. Those you never get.”

But I can see how it is related.

Ahh a lot of larger nature reserves- I heard, am not 100% knowledgeable on this- are short on staff and often have issues with people just entering like it is a park. But they are too understaffed to do much about it. I feel like a rich dude could finance it well, but that would probably end with different issues.....